1989 / Director. Jim Sheridan.
It goes without saying that Daniel Day Lewis is an exceptional actor. After watching Lincoln recently I was struck with awe again and felt I needed to revisit some of his previous work... and so I went right back to My Left Foot, the film that announced him to the world and won him an Oscar. It really is an astonishing film and his performance is outstanding... phenomenal really. It tells the true story of Christy Brown, a man born with cerebral palsy who overcame adversity to become a celebrated artist and author. The film is based largely on his own book. With a performance as dominating and powerful as this, it is a testament to actress Brenda Fricker that her character is the true heart of this film. Playing Christy's devoted mother Fricker offers an understated yet fundamental performance that makes the story all the more powerful. Our family knows a young man with cerebral palsy and so I can say unequivocally that Daniel Day Lewis nails it. It could have easily been a condescending and inappropriate performance but thankfully it's honest. Sadly what the film omits is Christy's death, which occurred in 1981. He chocked on a lamb chop and was subsequently discovered to have been mentally and physically abused by his wife. It's a tragic end to an incredible life, however, its to the film's credit that they ignored this detail. That's not a dignified way to tell his story and so only the hardships contributing to Christy's triumph have been conveyed. Director Jim Sheridan handles the material skilfully. It was his first film and he also went on to enjoy a solid career with films such as In The Name of the Father, The Boxer (both staring Day-Lewis) and Brothers, just to name some. Revisiting My Left Foot was a delight.