My Left Foot

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My Left Foot
My Left Foot.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Produced by Noel Pearson
Screenplay by Shane Connaughton
Jim Sheridan
Based on My Left Foot
by Christy Brown
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis
Ray McAnally
Brenda Fricker
Fiona Shaw
Hugh O'Conor
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography Jack Conroy
Edited by J. Patrick Duffner
Distributed by Granada Films (UK)
Miramax Films
Release date(s)
  • 24 February 1989 (1989-02-24)
(premiere)[1]
Running time 103 minutes
Country Ireland
Language English
Budget £600,000
Box office $14,743,391[2]

My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown is a 1989 Irish drama film directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It tells the true story of Christy Brown, an Irishman born with cerebral palsy, who could control only his left foot. Christy Brown grew up in a poor, working-class family, and became a writer and artist. The film also stars Ray McAnally, Brenda Fricker, Fiona Shaw, Julie Hale, Alison Whelan, Kirsten Sheridan, Declan Croghan, Eanna MacLiam, Marie Conmee, and Cyril Cusack. It was adapted by Shane Connaughton and Jim Sheridan from the book of the same name by Christy Brown.[3]

The film was well received by critics and audiences alike. Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker both won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role, respectively, and was nominated for three more awards, Best Adapted Screenplay for Shane Connaughton and Jim Sheridan, Best Director for Sheridan and the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Plot[edit]

The film opens with Christy Brown, who has cerebral palsy, being taken to a charity event, where he meets his handler, a nurse named Mary Carr. She begins reading his autobiography. Christy could not walk or talk, but still received love and support from his family, especially his mother. One day, while Christy was still a young boy, he is the only person home to see his mother have a stroke. He is able to get the attention of some neighbors, who come to his mother's rescue. His father, who had never really believed in Christy, becomes a supporter when, one day, when he is about ten, Christy uses his left foot (the only part of his body he can fully control) to write the word 'mother' on the floor with a piece of chalk.

Consequently, Christy seeks a hobby in painting. He is included by the young people in his neighborhood in their activities, such as playing street soccer, and he even participates in sessions of 'spin the bottle.' However, when he paints a picture and gives it to a girl he likes, she returns it to him. His father loses his job and the family faces exceptionally difficult hardships. Christy, to his mother’s dismay, devises a plan to help his brothers steal coal. Christy’s elder sister, who was always very nice to him, gets pregnant and has to get married and leave home. Christy's mother, who had been gradually gathering some savings in a tin in the fireplace, finally saves enough to buy him a wheelchair.

Christy meets Dr. Eileen Cole, who takes him to her school for cerebral palsy patients and persuades a friend of hers to hold an exhibition of his work. Christy falls in love with Dr. Cole, but in the subsequent dinner, he learns she is engaged to be married. As a result, Christy considers suicide. He and his mother build Christy his own private studio, but his father soon thereafter dies of a stroke. During the wake, Christy instigates a brawl. At this point, Christy starts writing his autobiography, My Left Foot. Dr. Cole returns and they resume their friendship. Meanwhile, at the fete, Christy asks Mary Carr to go out with him and they leave the fete together. An onscreen message indicates that they later got married.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Many scenes were filmed through a mirror, as Daniel Day-Lewis could only manipulate his right foot to perform the actions seen in the film. Day-Lewis spent some time preparing for the film at Christy Brown's alma mater in Dublin. He later returned there for a visit, with his Oscar.[4]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Upon its initial release, My Left Foot received positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 100% of 33 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 8.2 out of 10.[5]

Accolades[edit]

It won the Academy Award for Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Brenda Fricker). It was also nominated for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. It also won the NYFCC Best Picture Award for 1989.

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
Academy Awards 26 March 1990 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Won
Best Supporting Actress Brenda Fricker Won
Best Picture Noel Pearson, producer Nominated
Best Director Jim Sheridan Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Shane Connaughton & Jim Sheridan Nominated
BAFTA Film Awards 1990 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Won
Best Supporting Actor Ray McAnally Won
Best Film My Left Foot Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Shane Connaughton & Jim Sheridan Nominated
Best Makeup Ken Jennings Nominated
European Film Awards 25 November 1989 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Nominated
Golden Globe Awards 20 January 1990 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Brenda Fricker Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards 24 March 1990 Best Foreign Film ‘’My Left Foot’’ Nominated
London Film Critics Actor of the Year Daniel Day-Lewis Won
Los Angeles Film Critics 16 January 1990 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Won
Best Supporting Actress Brenda Fricker Won
National Film Critics 8 January 1990 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Won
New York Film Critics 14 January 1990 Best Film ‘’My Left Foot’’ Won
Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Won
Writers Guild of America (WGA) 18 March 1990 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Nominated
Young Artist Awards March 1990 Best Young Actor Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Hugh O’Conor Won
Best Motion Picture: Drama ‘’My Left Foot’’ Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson, Laura. Daniel Day-Lewis: The Biography. John Blake, 2005. p. 137.
  2. ^ "My Left Foot (1989)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  3. ^ The Irish Filmography 1896-1996; Red Mountain Press; 1996. Page 43
  4. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Daniel Day Lewis, Gentleman, A Memoir. pp. 1–22.
  5. ^ "My Left Foot – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 

External links[edit]