Christy Brown makes seem like a real lazy dude.
My Left Foot tells the true story of Irishman Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis), who was born with cerebral palsy, only allowing him to only control only his left foot. The film follows Christy Brown over time where he soon becomes a writer, artist and builds strong relationships with his mother (Brenda Fricker) and the rest of his working-class family.
Director Jim Sheridan does something with this pretty generic story, and make it actually very interesting to watch as if we’ve never seen this type of plot ever done before. One of the main reasons being is the fact that it is not told like the regular Hollywood biopic where you get a whole bunch of cheesy montages, sentimental scenes, and moments that seem only made-for-film rather than sticking straight to the realistic approach. Sheridan is able to linger away from these conventions and I think that is why this film mainly works.
Even though the film does try to set itself apart from what we usually see, the film still has great moments of inspiration mainly because this man, Christy Brown is such an extraordinary human-being, even if he was a little hard to handle. How a person can create beautiful paintings, write a whole book, and still be able to play soccer by only using only his left foot is really something remarkable especially since the doctors told his parents at birth that he would be nothing but a vegetable.
The film not only shows him as an inspiration to everyone, but also a person that had many anger issues and was very smart even though he could be sometimes very hard to work with. Rarely will you ever really get a film, let alone biopic, that shows the person they are portraying in a relatively dark light. Christy Brown was a gifted human-being (although some may disagree) but he was also a person that did not appreciate a lot of the things and it’s not that it made him a bad person by any means, it’s just the fact that he was very hard to be friends with or even work with.
However, the film did have its fair share of problems. I felt like the score that was played throughout the background the whole entire film, not only took away from a lot of the more emotional scenes but also were annoying because they didn’t really do anything for the scenes themselves. There are some great moments of silence but to be honest, I wish the whole film could have been played with silence considering it would have made the film seem a lot more realistic, which is obviously what the film was trying to go for.
The last part also feels rushed and ends on a pretty weak note. There were a lot of aspects of Brown’s life that were sort of left out and other parts that were random. We randomly get short bits of Brown holding a paintbrush as well as typing away on his type-writer, but never anything else added on to those scenes. This may seem like a strange complaint but I just wish they at least took their time with showing Brown’s later-life, instead of just getting past all of this in a hurry so they could at least say that they tried to end the film on a solid and emotional note.
The real reason why this film works is because of the perfect performance from Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown, who also won an Oscar for his performance. To say Day-Lewis is amazing, would be understatement, this is probably one of the best performances of a handicapped person in any film, and that is a long long list. Every chance he gets, Day-Lewis just brings out the raw emotion that seems to have always be built up in Christy Brown and takes what we usually see of mentally/physically handicapped person and make him seem more like a human-being that won’t stop doing whatever he wants to do against all odds. I honestly don’t think they could have gotten a better performance if they casted another person who actually had cerebral palsy. He is THAT good.
Brenda Fricker is also great as his mom and gives her performance a lot of depth and warmth that all mommy roles should have no matter what. Did I keep on thinking about the pigeon lady from ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’ whenever I saw her? Yes, but it still didn’t mean her performance didn’t deserve the statue that she got.
Consensus: There were moments in this film that seemed a bit predictable, but thanks to Sheridan’s way of creating a realistic, precise, and inspirational story, mixed with the amazing performance from Day-Lewis, is what makes this film a must-see. In other words: I liked it.
A woman playing a man = really trying for an Oscar.
Glenn Close plays a woman passing as a man named Albert Nobbs in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland. Some thirty years after donning men’s clothing, she finds herself trapped in a prison of her own making.
It seems like one way for your leading role to get an Oscar is play somebody who is sexually confused. I’m not saying that they will always get it but they will definitely get the nomination, even if the rest of your film blows. This is the case with this flick.
Director Rodrigo Garcia really does try his hardest with this flick. He keeps it small, brings out any type of emotions that he can, and lets humor take over as well but beneath it all, there’s nothing really there other than a boring flick that we have all seen done before. I never felt any real emotions with this film because it was just so damn slow and tedious. If it weren’t for the two main leads, I probably would have dozed off plenty of times because there was nothing here that really kept me over as shocking, new, or even entertaining. Just the same old, same old period piece that feels too much like a play on-screen.
The film also keeps on panning back towards the dumb romance between Wasikowska and Johnson, which doesn’t provide anything else other than just a bunch of corny love-lines that take you away from the whole fact that you got this person who obviously should be the fore-front of the story. But instead Garcia just wants to provide some detail into a relationship that doesn’t work on many levels. I mean they are both good here don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I felt like the flick never did them justice considering they were put in here as the romantic sub-plot that was supposed to mean something, except you never really catch as to why until the final act.
The main reason why this film comes even close to working well is because of the two great performances given here by the two ladies dressed up like dudes. It’s sad to see Glenn Close in a film that is boring because she is so good here as Nobbs. Instead of playing up the fact that she is a chick dressed as a guy, she gives us this subtle and quiet performance and she displays a lot of emotions just on her face with even the twitch of an eye or lip. She’s shy, scared, and keeps to herself but when she’s happy being in her own skin and having these little fantasies, it feels real even if the fantasy scenes are really hoky. Close has really been trying her damn hardest getting this flick off the ground after appearing in the play, and it’s sort of a shame that her performance is stuck in a film that doesn’t really help out her Oscar chances. However, I think she’ll probably get the nomination.
The one performance that I think elevated this film beyond belief was the one given by Janet McTeer as Hubert, a fellow woman in men’s clothing. As soon as she shows up on the screen you know she’s going to be the best part of the flick and she owns just about every single scene. She’s funny, dramatic, honest, and actually feels like a real person. Her act is the exact opposite of Close’s performance but that provides her with a lot of great lines and just by the way McTeer delivers them all with her sneering and cartoonish-like act where you can tell that this is almost her impersonation of a man. McTeer is probably the most memorable performance in the whole film and I can easily say that if I was a woman dressing up like a man, I’d feel a whole lot better knowing that I wasn’t alone with Janet McTeer. Definitely deserves the nomination.
You have so many other great stars in this film such as Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brenda Fricker, Brendan Gleeson, and Pauline Collins among others but they are never really given much to do and they all come off as just a bunch of one-dimensional characters that don’t do much for the story. There’s also this terribly random scene in which Gleeson is doing some “licking” if you know what I mean, and the scene is completley irrelevant to the whole entire film that it made me wonder just why the hell was it in here in the first damn place.
Consensus: Glenn Close and Janet McTeer make Albert Nobbs better but with its slow pace, muddled script, and nothing else that really stands apart from anything that I’ve seen before, makes this period piece just feel like another stage play on screen.