Academy Awards 1989 -
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis
Academy Awards 1989 -
Best Supporting Actress: Brenda Fricker
Rolling Stone - 11/16/1989
"...Day Lewis gives a towering performance -- fierce, witty and moving....MY LEFT FOOT, a keen match of actor and subject, stands as an eloquent tribute to the talents of both..."
New York Times - 09/23/1989
"...MY LEFT FOOT is an intelligent, beautifully acted adaptation....Very successful..."
Los Angeles Times - 02/02/1990
"...This one you see for the pure love of movie making. It's tough-minded, unsentimental and ferociously brilliant acting....Day-Lewis seizes the role....It's a performance with a fantastic trajectory..."
Premiere - 09/01/2005
"[An] unsentimental film that, without ever preaching, says a sermon's worth about perseverance and survival."
Daniel Day-Lewis delivers a performance for the ages in this film based on DOWN ALL THE DAYS, the autobiography of Christy Brown, who overcame severe physical limitations to become an accomplished painter and writer. The film describes the astounding arc of Brown's life, starting with a childhood in which his debilitating cerebral palsy causes everyone but his mother to believe he is brain-damaged. Brown begins to shatter this perception by using his left foot and a piece of chalk to scrawl a one-word message on the floor to his mother.
Though Brown's subsequent growth into an artist of great profundity is nothing short of miraculous, he is never presented in the film as anything more nor less than human. Director Jim Sheridan contributes to a fully three-dimensional portrait of the artist by showing such things as Brown playing soccer with his brothers, experiencing the sting of unrequited love, and battling alcoholism. Day-Lewis, in an Academy Award-winning performance, brilliantly captures the wicked genius of Brown's mind as he observes the tone and timbre of his local Ireland with courage and determination. His physical characterization of Brown's condition, portrayed with remarkably little sentimentality, is absolutely astounding. A first-rate ensemble cast includes Hugh O'Connor as young Christy and Brenda Fricker (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar) and Ray McAnally as his devoted parents.
Based on the life of Christy Brown, the Irish painter and author who was born with severe cerebral palsy, leaving him almost completely paralyzed. Brown was forced to communicate and work by writing and drawing with a pencil gripped in his left foot. The film is told in flashback as Christy's nurse reads his autobiography which follows him through his early life, when only his mother believed he could be anything more than a vegetable, to his childhood games with his brothers on the Dublin streets, to his devastating crush on his speech teacher.
Art / Artists |
Family Interaction |
Physically Impaired |
Tear Jerker |
Theatrical Release |
Daniel Day-Lewis won the 1989 Best Actor Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics, and the National Society of Film Critics. Brenda Fricker won the 1989 Best Supporting Actress Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics.
Film debut of director Jim Sheridan, director of photography Jack Conroy and producer Noel Pearson.
Estimated budget $3 million.
Filmed in Wicklow, Ireland, and at Ardmore Studios in Dublin. Filming began July 18, 1988. Shot in Technicolor.
Screened at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Toronto Festival of Festivals, New York Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival and Mill Valley Film Festival and at the 1990 Benefit to support the American Disabilities Act.
Released in Dublin February 24, 1989. Released in USA November 10, 1989. Released on video June 13, 1990.
Rated BBFC 15 by the British Board of Film Censors.
Reviewed in New York Times and Los Angeles Times November 10, 1989 and in Monthly Film Bulletin September 1989.