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
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography Jack Conroy
Edited by J. Patrick Duffner
Distributed by Granada Films (UK)
Miramax Films
Release date
  • 24 February 1989 (1989-02-24)
Running time
103 minutes
Country Ireland
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £600,000
Box office $14.7 million[2]

My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown is a 1989 Irish biographic drama film co-written and directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Ray McAnally and Fiona Shaw. It tells the 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 Julie Hale, Alison Whelan, Kirsten Sheridan, Declan Croghan, Eanna MacLiam, Marie Conmee, and Cyril Cusack. It is a partly fictional biography, 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, with Daniel Day-Lewis being universally commended for his performance as a man with cerebral palsy, and many critics and film watchers ranking his performance as one of the greatest in all of film. Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role, respectively, and the film was additionally nominated for three other awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay for Shane Connaughton and Jim Sheridan, Best Director for Sheridan and the Academy Award for Best Picture.


The film opens with Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis), 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 when he was still a young boy, Christy was the only one home to see his mother fall down a flight of stairs while in labor, and he was able to alert some neighbors and summon them over to help. His father, who had never really believed in him, becomes a supporter the day nine- or 10-year-old Christy uses his left foot, the only body part he can fully control, to write the word "mother" on the floor with a piece of yellow chalk.

Consequently, Christy seeks a hobby in painting. The neighborhood youngsters include him in their activities, like street football. But when he paints a picture and gives it to a girl he likes, she returns it. When his father loses his job and the family faces exceptionally difficult hardships, Christy devises a plan to help his brothers steal coal (to their mother's dismay). His older sister, who was always very nice to him, gets pregnant and must marry 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 when he learned during the dinner that she is engaged to be married, he considers suicide. His mother helps him build a private studio for himself, but soon afterward his father dies of a stroke, and 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.



Day-Lewis first became interested in the film when he read the opening scene, which features him, as Brown, using his left foot to place a record on a player and then placing a needle onto it so that it will play. [4] Lewis would later state of the scene "'I knew it couldn't be done...and that intrigued me".[4] 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.[5]


Critical response[edit]

Upon its initial release, My Left Foot received positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 97% of 34 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 8.1 out of 10.[6]


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[7] 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[8] 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[9] 25 November 1989 Young European Film of the Year My Left Foot Nominated
Best Director Jim Sheridan Nominated
Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[10] 20 January 1990 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Brenda Fricker Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards[11] 24 March 1990 Best Foreign Film My Left Foot Won
Los Angeles Film Critics[12] 16 January 1990 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Won
Best Supporting Actress Brenda Fricker Won
National Film Critics[11] 8 January 1990 Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Won
New York Film Critics[13] 14 January 1990 Best Film My Left Foot Won
Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis Won
Young Artist Awards[14] 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]


  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. ^ a b Hirschberg, Lynn. "Daniel Day-Lewis: the perfectionist". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Daniel Day Lewis, Gentleman, A Memoir. pp. 1–22.
  6. ^ "My Left Foot – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "The 62nd Academy Awards (1990) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AMPAS. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "BAFTA Awards Search – My Left Foot". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "European Film Awards". European Film Academy. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Daniel Day-Lewis". Film4. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "My Left Foot (1989)". NY Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "15TH ANNUAL LOS ANGELES FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARDS". lafca. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Critics' Award to 'Drugstore Cowboy'". NY Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "11th Annual Youth In Film Awards". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 

External links[edit]