My Left Foot is the amazing true story of Irish painter-poet-novelist Christy Brown, born in 1932 to a poor Dublin bricklayer, one of 22 children of whom thirteen survived.
Life was hard, but for Christy it was intolerable.
Born with cerebral palsy, disfigured and paralysed, he was dismissed as a tragic halfwit, able to communicate only with his left foot, the sole part of his body his damaged brain could control.
But Christy had one thing few healthy children can boast about – a wonderful mother who was a pillar of strength and support.
Through his mother’s unflagging belief in his intelligence, Christy learned to use that foot to hold a paintbrush, type his memoirs, and even flirt with girls, eventually marrying and becoming an international celebrity.
Considering the verbal and physical limitations of his role, it’s miraculous how much passion Daniel Day-Lewis gets out of it.
Without once playing for sympathy, he re-creates Christy Brown’s affliction and his zest for life – and he does it with so little fuss that the character comes across with real power and fire.
This titanic performance won Day-Lewis the 1989 Best Actor Oscar. Brenda Fricker, his fellow Oscar winner (for Supporting Actress) is wonderful too, as his worn-out and long-suffering mother.
Dr Eileen Cole
Young Christy Brown