Review: My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown (1989)

my-left-foot

I know I am not alone in the thought that I could never survive with only one appendage at my disposal!

Written By: Shane Connaughton & Jim Sheridan
Directed By: Jim Sheridan

Biopics are typically hit or miss with me. Out of every movie type they have the most pitfalls to avoid, because they tend to always go overboard on the emotion. Either it is too uplifting and sentimental of a tale or it is too depressing and downtrodden. My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown finds a healthy middle ground, choosing realistic emotions and the simple portrayal of life over the standard biopic emotional machinations. There are still some moments where I think the film veers too far into the sympathy lane, but they were small and the film quickly got back into the realistic lane. My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown ends up a great biopic that is a pleasure to watch in some moments and unbearable in others.

Daniel Day-Lewis has become a name synonymous with great acting, and My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown was the first film where his acting prowess was noticed. While I don’t want to take anything away from Day-Lewis’ excellently humanistic portrayal of Christy, I feel that all the buzz around his performance shortchanged the equally terrific performance from Hugh O’Conor as young Christy. There is a seamless transition between the two actors, and that is because O’Conor is more than up to the task of matching the emotion and mannerisms of Day-Lewis. Also of note were the parental figures of Ray McAnally and Brenda Fricker. Fricker in particular was subtle, warm and the emotional center of the film as Mrs. Brown.

As I previously stated, My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown never gets too sentimental, and that is why it worked so much for me. It is a very realistic movie, Christy is a flawed man, his family is flawed and every moment of his life isn’t uplifting and inspirational. On the flip side there are funny comedic moments that are simply moments between a family, those moments anchor the film in reality. I was also impressed with the way that both Day-Lewis and O’Conor acted out the disease, and in the way that their movements and problems were handled. You can tell that it was a painstaking process for the actors, and this above all else adds to the incredibly realistic feel of the film.

My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown certainly isn’t a popcorn biopic, it will make you feel just as sad as it will happy. The film doesn’t even have that much of a happy ending, because while we are informed that Christy marries Mary, we also realize that his drinking problem is becoming larger and because the film never addresses a resolution for said problem it will haunt Christy after the credits have rolled. My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown is definitely the film you need to see if you are of the mind that biopics are rather generic and it is an actors delight, full of great performances. Experience the ups and down, laugh at the jokes, marvel at the accomplishments, My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown is an experience to behold.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

2 responses to “Review: My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown (1989)

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