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Film: My Left Foot

My Left Foot is the 1954 autobiography of Irish cerebral palsy victim Christy Brown. Paralyzed from birth, Brown is written off as retarded and helpless. But Christy's indomitable mother never gives up on the boy. Using his left foot, the only part of his body not afflicted, Brown learns to write. He grows up to become a well-known author and painter.

The novel was made into a 1989 oscar-winning drama directed by Jim Sheridan, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown and Brenda Fricker as his mother.


This work provides examples of:

  • Bar Brawl
  • Berserk Button: Christy, when the father used physical violence against his sister.
  • Composite Character: In the film version, the character Dr. Eileen Cole never existed. She was supposed to represent an amalgam of several people who helped Christy. Robert Collis was his mentor in every way - in his education and physical development but, more than that, he encouraged him to paint and write. In fact, he proofread Christy's first book and contacted the publishers for him - the lot. Dr. Patricia Sheehan, who had played a very important role in Christy's development, was very much against the portrayal of Eileen Cole in the film.
  • Extremity Extremist: The protagonist, an almost-total paraplegic who is carried around in a wheelbarrow, uses his only working appendage - guess which one - to do some damage in a Bar Brawl.
  • Flashback: The way in which the story is told.
  • Genius Cripple: The main character could only move his left foot due to cerebral palsy, but still wrote several poetry books and became a very famous in the Irish literary circles.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Christie had 13 surviving siblings.
  • Oscar Bait
  • The Un Favourite: Averted. Despite the hardship he's causing, Christie gets all the parental support one can think of, especially by his mother.

MoontrapFilms of the 1980sNew York Stories
Field of DreamsAcademy AwardDances with Wolves

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