My Left Foot

In Cerebral Palsy, Education, Family, Movies on September 6, 2011 at 6:50 am

This is a great biopic about Cerebral Palsy. Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for his portrayal of Irish writer Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy. Without having any intention of bringing up domestic experience, I believe Daniel Day Lewis played marvelously. I’m convinced that he really tried hard to study everything about CP (Cerebral Palsy, not Cut/Paste) since he had to do most of anything using only his left foot. I read once that Lewis remained in his wheelchair between takes in order to absorb the character he portrays. “Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Christy Brown and his handicap is so convincing that it is difficult to believe that Day-Lewis is not actually stricken with Cerebral Palsy” – Amazon

Cerebral palsy word clouds

Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve a child’s capabilities. Many children go on to enjoy near-normal adult lives if their disabilities are properly managed. In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them. Treatments may include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, drugs to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and alleviate pain; surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles; braces and other orthotic devices; wheelchairs and rolling walkers. he best cure for cerebral palsy is the strong, solid communication within family members as well as the wisdom and patience to deal with the ‘special needs’ and the limitations of those who suffer from it.

The film opening

An alternative to the general run of “triumph over the odds” biopics, My Left Foot is the true story of Irish cerebral palsy victim Christy Brown. Paralyzed from birth, Brown (played by Hugh O’Conor as child and Daniel Day-Lewis as an adult) is written off as retarded and helpless, misdiagnosed as mentally disabled for the first 10 years of his life, Brown learned to write using his left foot, the only body part he could control. But Christy’s indomitable mother (Brenda Fricker) never gives up on the boy. Using his left foot, the only part of his body not afflicted, Brown learns to write. He grows up to become a well-known author, painter, and fundraiser, and along the way falls in love with nurse Mary Carr (Ruth McCabe). There’s no sugarcoating in My Left Foot: Brown, a heavy drinker, was by no means lovable. Day-Lewis and Fricker both won Academy Awards for their performances, and the film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Also notable are the late Ray McAnally in his next-to-last film role as Christy’s father, and venerable Cyril Cusack as Lord Castlewelland. Director Jim Sheridan co-scripted with Shane Connaughton from Christy Brown’s autobiography.

Daniel Day Lewis as Christy Brown, a well-known Irish author, painter, and fundraiser who does all the works using only his left foot.


Christy Brown – The Life That Inspired “My Left Foot”

The book upon which the film was based

Christy Brown was severely disabled from birth with cerebral palsy and unable to use any part of his body other than his left foot. Doctors said he was a mental defective and that he would never be able to lead any kind of normal life; Christy proved them wrong.This is the first authorised biography of Christy Brown, written with the help and support of his surviving family members and artists who knew him well. It tells the astonishing story of Christy’s struggle with his disability and his development as an artist, author and poet, beginning with his mother teaching him to read and write using chalk on the worn floor of their small family home. Christy’s memoir MY LEFT FOOT was published in 1954 and later made into an Academy Award-winning film starring Daniel Day-Lewis, while his bestselling novel DOWN ALL THE DAYS was described by the Irish Times as ‘the most important novel since ULYSSES’.

Using previously unpublished letters and poems, this book marks Christy Brown’s importance as a writer and celebrates his indomitable spirit. His story is an inspiration, proving that an individual with hope and determination may overcome almost impossible odds.

Christy Brown and nurse Mary Carr (Ruth McCabe), a loyal therapist whom he fell in love eventually

Christy Brown as he learned to control his jaws’ muscles by blowing soap bubbles

A great caricature of Daniel Day Lewis as Christy Brown from

Christy Brown with his affectionate mother

Since understanding and patience are the keys to successful parenting, especially those whose children suffer from Cerebral Palsy, these are exactly what we are practicing at home, to understand and to be patient. Communication can be troublesome sometimes, especially when he’s not well and he fails to communicate his feeling.

This is an amazingly good movie, and film performances don’t get any more compelling than those delivered here by Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker. Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Christy Brown and his handicap is so convincing that it is difficult to believe that Day-Lewis is not actually stricken with Cerebral Palsy. But his portrayal, like the Irish writer and artist he portrays, gets far beyond the physical challenges of the disease. He conveys a warmth, humor, and human intensity that avoids cloying sentimentality. In terms of the movie content, I can only echo the superlatives of the previous reviewers. The film itself deserves 5+ stars.


Useful links:

My Left Foot on

Cerebral Palsy

Feel free to contact me whenever you feel any of the images uploaded are copyrighted

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