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 an oscar-winning drama in 1989 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Christie's father. He comes across as somewhat cold at first, but when Christie writes "MOTHER" on the floor, he takes him for a drink. Perhaps his most heart of gold moment comes when he takes over from Christie's mother to build Christie a room.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Christie had 13 surviving siblings.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Chrisite hatches a plan to get free coal by using himself to distract the coalmen while his brothers loosened the truck's tailgate, causing the coal to fall out.
  • Oscar Bait
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Christie is a poet and a painter, but even he is prone to this trope. Dr. Eileen Cole, just rolls with it, when she offered to teach him speech therapy.
    Christie: Fuck off.
    Eileen: If you work with me, I'll help you say fuck off more clearly.
  • The Unfavourite: Averted. Despite the hardship he's causing, Christie gets all the parental support one can think of, especially by his mother.