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My Left Foot(1989)
The true story of the artist, writer and cerebral palsy sufferer Christy Brown, based on his own book. It recounts the many problems he faced growing up in his native Ireland, and charts the ways in which he developed the use of his left foot - the only limb over which he had any control - to achieve success as an artist. Oscars were won by Daniel Day-Lewis (playing the adult Brown) and Brenda Fricker (playing Brown's mother).
For more about My Left Foot and the My Left Foot Blu-ray release, see My Left Foot Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on September 13, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Jim Sheridan
Writers: Shane Connaughton, Jim Sheridan, Christy Brown
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Ray McAnally, Fiona Shaw, Hugh O'Conor, Kirsten Sheridan
» See full cast & crew
My Left Foot Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, September 13, 2013
Director Jim Sheridan's "My Left Foot" (1989) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors ITV Studios Global Entertainment. The supplemental features on the disc include text-format biographies and a gallery of stills from the film. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
The boy can control only his left foot. This is how he was born, his body almost completely paralyzed by cerebral palsy.
His parents take care of him, but they don't understand him. Because they can't communicate with him, they are convinced that he also doesn't understand them. But the boy understands everything he is told. He simply does not know how to let them know – he can't speak or write.
Eventually, he figures out a way – he learns to write with his left foot. Later on, he also learns how to paint. It isn't easy, but writing and painting makes his life a little more meaningful.
Years later he falls in love and this time he faces an even more frustrating dilemma: How does he tell the woman he loves how he feels about her? And would it matter if he did?
Jim Sheridan's film chronicles the life of Christy Brown, an Irish writer and painter who passed away in 1981. The film is based on Brown's autobiography, which like the film is titled My Left Foot.
Sheridan's film is effectively divided into two large sections. The first focuses on Brown's childhood years and specifically on the important events leading to his family's realization that he is a perfectly sane human being locked in a damaged body. There are also flashbacks from the present, where Brown is already a celebrated painter and is able to communicate with the people around him, but they are used only to quickly highlight the tremendous progress he has made during the years.
The second section focuses on Brown's emotional struggles to lead some sort of a normal life. Here he feels loved and accepted, but he also understands the limitations of his existence. Sheridan also follows closely Brown's relationships with two women, one of whom will eventually become his wife.
The film's greatest strength is its refusal to sugarcoat Brown's struggles and make him look like a hero. Sheridan's camera frequently comes close and observes him but it does so with the proper respect. As a result My Left Foot never evolves into a difficult to endure miserabilist film.
Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker's Oscar awards are well deserved. The former, in particular, is simply extraordinary as the paralyzed Brown. The facial expressions and the body movement have to be seen to be believed. Fricker is also excellent as Brown's mother. Also deserving praise is Hugh O'Conor's performance from the first half of the film.
My Left Foot was lensed by cinematographer Jack Conroy (Gillies MacKinnon's The Playboys, Geoff Murphy's The Last Outlaw).
The film's soundtrack was created by award winning composer Elmer Bernstein (John Sturges' The Great Escape, Otto Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm, John Frankenheimer's Birdman of Alcatraz).
Note: In 1990, My Left Foot won BAFTA Awards for Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ray McAnally).
My Left Foot Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
The release uses a new high-definition transfer. Some light digital work has been performed to tone down noise and grain, but detail and clarity are rather pleasing. Close-ups with plenty of light, in particular, look quite good (see screencaptures #3 and 18). The outdoor sequences also convey decent depth (see screncapture #13). Contrast levels are stable. There is a wide range of very warm and natural colors that are simply missing on the old R1 DVD release. Overall image stability is excellent, but during select indoor shots I noticed light artifacts popping up from time to time. There are absolutely no traces of sharpening corrections. Finally, overall image stability is also excellent. All in all, the technical presentation is not perfect, but it is a good upgrade in quality over previous DVD releases of the film. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
My Left Foot Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: English LPCM 2.0. For the record, ITV Studios Global Entertainment have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
Elmer Bernstein's soundtrack benefits the most from the lossless upgrade, but the improved dynamic levels during conversations and mass scenes are also very easy to recognize. Crackle and background hiss have also been removed as best as possible. Unsurprisingly, overall depth and fluidity are very pleasing. For the record, there are no audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
My Left Foot Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
My Left Foot Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Director Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot is a deeply moving film with some absolutely phenomenal performances. It is currently available on Blu-ray only in the United Kingdom courtesy of ITV Studios Global Entertainment. I think that there is room for some important improvements, but until a better release arrives on the market this Region-B release is indeed easy to recommend. RECOMMENDED.
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My Left Foot Blu-ray, News and Updates
• My Left Foot Blu-ray - March 9, 2013
ITV Studios Home Entertainment has revealed that it is planning to bring to Blu-ray director Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot (1989), starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, and Alison Whelan. The preliminary release date set by the British studio is May 27th.
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