Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Left Foot

by Drew Martin
December 3rd was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which recognizes the barriers faced by 15% of the world's population. Somewhat coincidentally, I watched My Left Foot, a 1989 film about (and adapted from the novel of that title by) Christy Brown, an Irish writer and artist with cerebral palsy who could only control his left foot. Brown grew up in a poor, working-class Catholic family/community where his disability was misunderstood and his abilities unrecognized. Despite this, his early childhood was full of motherly love and camaraderie from his countless siblings who wheeled him around in a “chariot,” a wooden cart slapped together with scrap wood and two pram wheels. At first, the young Brown is seen as mentally retarded. Even his attempts to write out mathematical formulas on the floor with a piece of chalk clutched with his toes are dismissed as nonsensical chicken scratch. It is not until he finally writes MOTHER in front of a dismayed family (in quite a dramatic scene) that his new life takes off. The best part of the film is the acting by the young Brown, played by Hugh O’Conor, and the late teen – grown Brown, played by Daniel Day-Lewis; a performance that won the Oscar.

Click here to view a fan-made trailer for My Left Foot