21 June 2004 | mulhollandman
An amazing debut
I can still remember the fuss that was made when this movie was first released. Everybody was applauding it. 14 years down the line the film is very dated, but still very enjoyable but more importantly very powerful. The story centers around Poet, artist and author to be Christy Brown. He suffers from Celerbal Paulsy (I hope that is spelled right) which means to be all three of the above occupations is some feat that should not go unnoticed. He lives in a large family (13 children, not all who suffered) in a small terraced house in Dublin's City Center. The movie begins with his birth and the late great Ray Mc Nally being told by a nurse that there were complications during the birth. We move forward a couple years to where we see a young Christy (played by Hugh O'Connor) being helped around by his mother. It is a sad sight to see him underneath the stairs of his family home watching his brothers and sisters (all Abled bodied) living a normal lifestyle (despite being poor) and knowing that he is just as well able to communicate. The finest scene in this early stage of his life is when Christy writes for the first time. In front of his family. His father is sceptical at first however his opinion is reversed when Christy finally proves that he is not the idiot that everybody thinks him to be. We then move to Christy's later teenage years where he meets a nurse with whose help he begins to learn how articulate his words. However Christy becomes infatuated with this lady. His mother is delighted that her son is happy however his father is once again the sceptic but this time he has good cause to as Christy's heart is broken when this woman announces that she is engaged to an Art dealer. This film is brilliant and I have a massive amount of praise for Daniel Day-Lewis who portrays Christy as an angry young man who is coming to terms with everything in his life. He is disturbed by womens reluctance to accept him and his condition, He is fed up of his fathers treatment of his mother and his siblings. Day-Lewis is totally immersed in his character and it is one of his finest roles. I have seen old interviews with the real Christy Brown and I can safely say that it is hard at times to distinguish is it Christy Brown or Daniel Day-Lewis on the screen. However the show is stolen from him by the finer performances of young Hugh O'Connor and Ray Mc Nally. Both of whom should have got Oscars as Best Supporting Actor (O'Connor) and Best Actor (Ray Mc Nally). O'Connor definitely proves himself in the role because he portrays the same qualities that Day-Lewis does as a frustrated youngster. Mc Nally defines the typical Irish Father role that would be made humorous by Colm Meaney in a number of films. It is such a great pity that he died shortly after this film. Brenda Fricker must also be mentioned as the doting mother who does everything that she can to help Christy reach his full potential. Again she is life like to Christy Browns real life mother however I think there were more deserving people for that Best Supporting Actress Oscar. This film is an amazing piece of independent film making and it really does so the potential of Jim Sheridan as a director and actor. He would further develop the themes of family, Irish society, loyalty in his other films. 9 out of 10.