Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 


Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis) was born with crippling cerebral palsy into a working class Irish family, mistaken for being retarded and helpless. However, using the only part of his body he can control, his left foot, and with the help of his strong willed mother (Brenda Fricker), he learns to write and to paint. Through courage and determination Brown triumphs to become one of Ireland's leading literary figures and an artists of renown.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
What a shock to discover that Shock has participated in the release of this film on DVD in the 4:3 aspect ratio. The original ratio was 1.85:1, Miramax's US DVD release kept the 1.85:1 ratio. That Time Life should also puts its brand to this travesty is an even greater shock. And disappointment.

But nothing can detract from the power of this film, especially Daniel Day-Lewis' astonishing performance as Christy Brown. It is fitting that this 20th Anniversary edition of the film on DVD coincides with the Australian release of his latest film, There Will Be Blood, for which Day-Lewis has won the Screen Actors Guild Best Actor Award and an Oscar nomination.

"Hope deferred'll make a heart sick" says his character Christy Brown in one scene, a quote his new doctor (Fiona Shaw) knows only too well herself. In that brief exchange, they recognise a fellow spirit in each other and we recognise something of great importance about Christy: his intellect and his emotional life are in total synch. But to his mother, Christy has acquired too much hope; she' afraid his hope will be dashed, his spirits with it. In a performance that is devoid of sentimentality and bristling with physicality, Day-Lewis presents Christy Brown as a complex and flawed figure whose disability simply made him different to those who regarded themselves as normal.

Jim Sheridan's direction is assured and engaging, and the film is beautifully presented in every respect - except of course the silly 4:3 aspect ratio. Shame on you lot for doing that.

Published February 7, 2008

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

(Ireland/UK, 1989)

CAST: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Fiona Shaw, Hugh O'Conor, Adrian Dunbar, Alison Whelan, Ruth McCabe, Kirsten Sheridan, Ray McAnally and Cyril Cusack

PRODUCER: Noel Pearson

DIRECTOR: Jim Sheridan

SCRIPT: Shane Connaughton, Jim Sheridan (book by Christy Brown)


EDITOR: J. Patrick Duffner

MUSIC: Elmer Bernstein


RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: 20th Anniversary Edition

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Shock Records (Time Life/ Direct Holdings)

DVD RELEASE: February 2, 2008

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020