Blu-ray review: “My Left Foot” (1989)

“My Left Foot” (1989)

Running Time: 103 minutes


Written by: Shane Connaughton and Jim Sheridan

Directed by: Jim Sheridan

Featuring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Ray McAnally, Brenda Fricker, Fiona Shaw, Adrian Dunbar and Ruth McCabe

Christy Brown: “What’ll we drink to?”

Mary: “Let’s drink to Dublin.”

Christy Brown: “To Dublin? Why?”

Mary: “Because Christy Brown was born there.”

Critical Commentary

“My Left Foot” is a captivating and emotionally charged film that tells the remarkable true story of Christy Brown, an Irishman born with severe cerebral palsy. Directed by Jim Sheridan, the movie offers a poignant portrayal of Brown’s life, struggles, and triumphs, showcasing his indomitable spirit and artistic talent.

Daniel Day-Lewis delivers an exceptional performance in the lead role, embodying Brown’s physical limitations with astonishing dedication and authenticity. Day-Lewis’s portrayal is nothing short of extraordinary, as he convincingly transforms himself into a character confined to a wheelchair, only able to control movement in his left foot. His commitment to capturing Brown’s challenges and emotions is truly remarkable, earning him a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Actor.

The film beautifully captures the theme of resilience and the power of the human spirit. It explores Brown’s journey from a marginalized and underestimated individual to a celebrated writer and artist. The relationship between Brown and his mother, played by Brenda Fricker in an equally impressive performance, forms the emotional core of the story. Their unyielding bond and unwavering support for each other is deeply moving, and the film portrays it with sensitivity and authenticity.

The cinematography and production design effectively transport the audience to 20th-century Ireland, adding depth and atmosphere to the storytelling. The narrative unfolds through a series of flashbacks and present-day moments, allowing the audience to witness Brown’s upbringing, his struggles with societal prejudices, and his triumphs as an accomplished author and painter. The pacing is well-balanced, and the film successfully navigates the delicate balance between the difficult aspects of Brown’s life and his remarkable achievements.

While “My Left Foot” is undoubtedly an inspiring and powerful film, it does not shy away from depicting the harsh realities of living with a severe disability. Some scenes may be difficult to watch due to their raw and unflinching portrayal of Brown’s physical limitations and the challenges he faced. However, it is precisely this unvarnished honesty that makes the movie so impactful and memorable.

“My Left Foot” is a masterfully crafted film that tells an inspiring true story with grace and authenticity. Daniel Day-Lewis’s exceptional performance, coupled with a compelling narrative and strong supporting cast, elevates this movie to a must-see status. It serves as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of art to transcend adversity.

Additionally, the film’s exploration of Brown’s artistic talent adds another layer of depth to the story. Despite his physical limitations, Brown discovers that he can express himself through painting and writing. These creative outlets become a means of communication and self-expression, providing him with a sense of purpose and fulfillment. The film beautifully captures the joy and liberation Brown experiences when he engages in his art, highlighting the transformative power of creativity.

The screenplay, adapted by Jim Sheridan and Shane Connaughton from Christy Brown’s autobiography, is skillfully written. It effectively balances moments of humor, heartbreak, and inspiration, capturing the nuances of Brown’s life and the complex relationships he forms along the way. The dialogue is poignant and thought-provoking, offering profound insights into the human condition and the resilience of the human spirit.

One notable aspect of “My Left Foot” is its sensitive portrayal of disability. It portrays Brown not as a mere object of pity or inspiration but as a multifaceted individual with hopes, dreams, and a rich inner life. By humanizing Brown and showing his agency, the film challenges societal perceptions of disability and prompts viewers to reevaluate their own attitudes and prejudices.

The direction by Jim Sheridan is masterful, as he skillfully navigates the delicate balance between showcasing the hardships Brown faces and celebrating his remarkable achievements. Sheridan’s attention to detail and his ability to create a rich and immersive world draw the audience into Brown’s life, allowing them to empathize with his struggles and triumphs. ”My Left Foot” is a moving and unforgettable film that sheds light on the power of determination, love, and the human spirit. It is a testament to the resilience of the human condition and a celebration of the indomitable nature of the human spirit. With its exceptional performances, compelling storytelling, and emotional depth, this film stands as a timeless classic that continues to inspire and resonate with audiences.

“My Left Foot” explores broader themes such as societal prejudice and the importance of inclusivity. Brown faces numerous obstacles and discrimination throughout his life due to his physical condition. The film poignantly depicts the ignorance and dismissive attitudes of some individuals towards people with disabilities. Through Brown’s journey, the movie raises awareness about the need for empathy, understanding, and equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities, challenging viewers to reconsider their own biases and perceptions.

The film’s soundtrack, composed by Elmer Bernstein, complements the narrative beautifully. The music adds depth and emotion to the scenes, enhancing the overall viewing experience. It seamlessly blends with the visuals, further immersing the audience in Brown’s world and eliciting a range of emotions. “My Left Foot” also succeeds in its portrayal of Brown’s resilience and determination. Despite the immense challenges he faces, he refuses to let his disability define him or limit his aspirations. His unwavering spirit and unwavering pursuit of his dreams serve as an inspiration to viewers, encouraging them to overcome their own obstacles and pursue their passions wholeheartedly.

It’s worth mentioning that “My Left Foot” is a powerful testament to the importance of representation in film. By casting Daniel Day-Lewis, an able-bodied actor, in the role of Christy Brown, the film ignited discussions about the inclusion of actors with disabilities in the industry. While Day-Lewis’s performance is undeniably exceptional, the film’s release sparked conversations about the need for authentic representation and opportunities for actors with disabilities.

In conclusion, “My Left Foot” is a remarkable film that masterfully tells the inspiring true story of Christy Brown. With its outstanding performances, poignant storytelling, and exploration of themes such as resilience, artistic expression, and societal prejudices, the movie leaves a lasting impact on its viewers. It serves as a testament to the power of the human spirit, the importance of empathy, and the triumph of the individual over adversity. “My Left Foot” is a cinematic gem that continues to captivate audiences and remind us of the boundless potential of the human heart and mind.

Technical Commentary


The award-winning film arrives on Blu-ray with a mostly satisfying if only slightly troubled1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. Comparatively speaking, the high-def transfer seems to have been made from the same master used for the 2011 special edition DVD, which is actually in pretty great condition. The overall palette is somewhat wanting and lacklustre, making flesh tones appear flushed and drained, but primaries surprisingly remain accurate. Blacks are, for the most part, true and consistent, but there are several spots where they come off too strong and ruing the finer details. 


Complementing the video is the slightly more satisfying DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Despite being in surround sound, however, the design is more of a front-heavy presentation and focused on the intimate conversations between characters.

Special Features

  • 1080p High-definition presentation on Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary by film historian/critic Bryan Reesman
  • Director Jim Sheridan on My Left Foot – interview featurette
  • An Inspirational Story: The Making of My Left Foot – featurette
  • The Real Christy Brown – featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

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