Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Ireland/United Kingdom, 1989. Ferndale Films, Granada Television, Raidió Teilifís Éireann. Screenplay by Shane Connaughton, Jim Sheridan, based on the book by Christy Brown. Cinematography by Jack Conroy. Produced by Noel Pearson. Music by Elmer Bernstein. Production Design by Austen Spriggs. Costume Design by Joan Bergin. Film Editing by J. Patrick Duffner.
Growing up in dire circumstances in a poor Irish neighbourhood, Christy Brown (played superbly by both Daniel Day-Lewis and Hugh O’Conor) is spurred on by his kindly, sensitive mother (Brenda Fricker) to not see himself as any different from his many siblings or the other children around him despite his cerebral palsy. To express himself, he discovers that he has complete control over his left foot, and so uses it to create the paintings he is now famous for. What this beautifully low-key film does, however, is illuminate the brilliant wit that kept him together throughout his complicated life, starting with barroom brawls and moving on to his difficulties in romance. The film launched Day-Lewis’s leading man career as well as that of director Jim Sheridan.
Academy Awards: Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis); Best Supporting Actress (Brenda Fricker)
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Director (Jim Sheridan); Best Adapted Screenplay
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Actor-Drama (Daniel Day-Lewis); Best Supporting Actress (Brenda Fricker)
Toronto International Film Festival: 1989