MY LEFT FOOT
Review by Michael Jacobson
Daniel Day-Lewis, Ray McAnally, Brenda Fricker, Fiona Shaw, Hugh O'Conor
Director: Jim Sheridan
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 103 Minutes
Release Date: August 16, 2005
drink to Dublin."
Christy Brown was born there!"
Left Foot is
an extraordinary film and an unforgettable true story.
It's the kind of movie you watch over and over again because it reminds
you that miracles are indeed possible, and can occur in the most unlikely of
places. Or people.
Brown (Day-Lewis) was born to a poor Irish family in 1932.
Afflicted with cerebral palsy, his twisted body was like a prison.
The only part of him he could effectively control was his left foot.
mistakenly believed him to be retarded because he couldn't speak clearly or look
after himself, but cerebral palsy affects the motor skills, not the inner
workings of the mind. And when a
young Christy picks up a piece of chalk with his toes and scratches out his
first word, he amazes everyone around him, including his dutiful mother (Fricker)
and his long suffering father (McAnally).
eventually earned recognition as a great painter, crafting heartfelt portraits
of those he loved with his left foot. With
the help of a therapist (Shaw), he learns to speak more clearly, and the
intelligent, tough, lovely man trapped within his broken body begins to emerge
more clearly. He even learns to
type with his big toe, and one letter at a time, he put his own life story to
paper, which helped him become not only a legend in Ireland, but one the world
Daniel Day-Lewis took home the Oscar for his incredible performance as Christy Brown; many called it an upset over the heavily favored Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July. But for those who saw My Left Foot, it wasn't a surprise...merely a well deserved affirmation for an extraordinary piece of acting. Day-Lewis became famed for his method acting technique, often refusing to break from the character of Christy between takes and learning to get through life using only his left foot as Christy had done.
Brenda Fricker, as Christy's mom, also took home an Oscar
for her wonderful work. And I always felt it was a shame that the Academy
did away with a Best Juvenile Performance award a long time ago; otherwise, Hugh
O'Conor as the young Christy would have been a shoo-in.
is a truly inspirational picture. Like
any life story, it's filled with moments that are heartbreaking and moments of
almost unimaginable triumph. The
fact that Christy lived his life fully and beyond all expectations makes it a
measuring stick by which we can measure our own lives.
He never let his handicap dictate the kind of person he was going to be,
nor did he let it stand in the way of success.
That's a lesson well worth learning for all of us, no matter what our
station in life might be.
happy to see Miramax release this modern classic...a former studio, which shall
remain unnamed, had put out a version of My Left Foot that was full frame
only. Now, we can see Jim
Sheridan's masterpiece as it was intended, in full anamorphic widescreen glory.
This is a lovely, colorful transfer, with rich tones and good detail
throughout. A bit of grain is noticeable throughout, but it's not
terribly distracting. All in all, a
5.1 soundtrack is a fairly lively offering, with the subwoofer giving extra kick
to Elmer Bernstein's score. Spoken
words are clean and clear and well balanced throughout, and dynamic range is
fair. I noticed no noise or
interference to mar the listening experience.
best feature is a short look at the real Christy Brown, using old photos and
film footage while those who knew him share their memories.
There is also a short making-of featurette and a stills gallery.
You can also peruse four critical reviews of the film.
I wish Daniel Day-Lewis and Jim Sheridan had participated in the extras,
but they were sadly nowhere to be found.