My Left Foot

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
My Left Foot Movie Poster Image
Gritty yet uplifting tale of artist with cerebral palsy.
  • R
  • 1989
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes include compassion, courage, integrity, and perseverance. Family bonds and loyalty; overcoming adversity; adapting to challenges of physical differences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Christy Brown found a way to communicate despite being unable to control most of his body because of cerebral palsy, at a time when and a place where technology had little more to offer than a crude wheelbarrow for getting around; Brown eventually achieved renown as a painter and writer. His mother was always there for him and always recognized and acknowledged who he was, despite the demands of raising a large family on very little money.


A head butt knocks someone to the ground; there's a large fight with punches and kicks as well as an attempted suicide with a razor blade, no blood or injury shown; a man collapsed on the floor dies.


Preteen boys look at a picture of a nude woman and speculate wildly about where babies come from. Grunting noises come from another room off camera. A teen girl is pregnant and has to get married. Strong themes of falling in love and the need for intimacy.


"F--k," "bitch," "bastard," "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many people drink and smoke in pubs. Going to the pub for a pint is referred to several times. Christy drinks hard alcohol, probably whiskey, heavily a few times and becomes agitated. Adults drink wine at dinner. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Left Foot is based on the memoir of Christy Brown, an Irish author and artist born with cerebral palsy in early '30s Dublin. Gritty and sometimes difficult to watch, the movie is ultimately uplifting, with positive messages about overcoming adversity and about people with physical differences or challenges being human, just like anyone. There are a few fights with punches and kicks but no blood or gore. A picture of a fully nude woman is on-screen for a second or two, and tweens speculate about sex and babies briefly. Other sexual content includes a teen pregnancy and Brown's longing for romance. Strong language includes occasional use of "f--k," and "bitch," "bastard," and "ass" are used once each. A few scenes take place in pubs where people drink and smoke, and Christy drinks to excess two or three times. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byzeekattacklee August 26, 2017

My left foot review/ age opinion

This film is not only inspiring, but also an amazing story about a guy who was a poet and also could do art with his left foot. Although there was only a brief... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byBellybird February 17, 2021

What's the story?

In MY LEFT FOOT, Christy Brown (Daniel Day Lewis) looks back on his life, which began in 1930s Dublin when he was born with cerebral palsy into a large, working-class family. Not expected to survive long, and largely written off as mentally and physically challenged, Christy finds a way to show the world, through painting and later writing, that his mind and heart are just like anyone else's. As he grows into adulthood and achieves artistic success, he longs for love and romance and endures heartbreak along the way. Will he find someone willing to take him on?

Is it any good?

This film astonishes, tugs at the heartstrings, wrenches the gut, tickles the funny bone, and ultimately restores the viewer's faith in humanity. My Left Foot rocketed Daniel Day-Lewis to stardom, and he's splendidly supported by a strong cast, especially the sublime Brenda Fricker as his mother and Hugh O'Conor, who more than holds his own as young Christy. Director Jim Sheridan doesn't judge but doesn't flinch either, creating a realistic and fairly neutral backdrop against which his cast and his story can really shine. Teens who can handle the salty language will learn a lot about physical differences, family bonds and loyalty, working-class Dublin, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies made from someone's memoir. Does My Left Foot  show a balanced view of events, or are events shown mostly from a certain point of view?

  • What do you think Christy's life would have been like, and what could he achieved, without his mother? How did she influence Christy and everyone else?

  • Imagine that the only part of your body you could accurately control was one foot. How much do you think you could accomplish in life, and how would you go about it?

  • How do the characters in My Left Foot demonstrate perseverance and courage? What about compassion and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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