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The remarkable Daniel Day-Lewis plays the remarkable Christy Brown, an Irishman born with a severe case of cerebral palsy who eventually taught himself to paint and write with his left foot. Director Jim Sheridan and Shane Connaughton adapted this 1990 film from Brown's autobiography, but far from milking the subject for conventional sentimentality, they use it as the basis for an engaging and idiosyncratic character study. Day-Lewis's performance is necessarily a bit showy—one has to strain at times to understand all his dialogue because of the character's contorted features—but he puts on a terrific drunk scene, and for all his character's travails the film as a whole winds up surprisingly upbeat. With Alison Whelan, Kirsten Sheridan, Declan Croghan, Fiona Shaw, Cyril Cusack, and Brenda Fricker, also fine as Brown's mother.

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