First and foremost, My Left Foot is the warm, romantic and moving true story of a remarkable man: the Irish writer and painter Christy Brown born with cerebral palsy into an impoverished family. That it features a brilliant performance by Daniel Day-Lewis and a fine supporting cast lifts it from mildly sentimental to excellent.
At his birth, Christy’s parents are told their child would be little more than a vegetable, but through his mother’s insistence that he fit in with family life, he shows intelligence and strength inside his paralyzed body.
The older Christy amazes his family by writing the word ‘mother’ on the floor with a piece of chalk gripped in his left foot. He goes on to become an artist # still using that left foot and is helped by therapist Fiona Shaw, with whom he falls in love.
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All performances are on the mark in this perfect little film [from Brown’s own novel]. Brenda Fricker, as his loving and resilient mother, is excellent, as is the late Ray McAnally as his bricklayer father. My Left Foot is not a sad film. In fact, there is a great deal of humor in Day-Lewis’s Brown.
1989: Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Supp. Actress (Brenda Fricker).
Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay