This movie is not a medical drama, as it is sometimes mistakenly categorized, but rather an existential parable, focused on the paradox of spirituality found within the bonds of human condition. Within the material world, we are all crippled: bound in our spiritual pursuit by the limitations of our physical body. The illness of Christy Brown is interpreted in the film as a general metaphor, the illness of being born into the material universe. By default we are all seen by society as “morons” and “dunces”, capable of only most fundamental physical needs. Our spiritual aspirations are blocked. Human life is marred with suffering and alienation. We have very little control of our bodies and of our destinies.

But the tiny measure of control we are given, the proverbial “left foot”, the symbol of spiritual action, allows us to accomplish seemingly impossible. Christy Brown and Jim Sheridan tell us: if you truly desire to fulfill your spiritual path, to grow your soul, if every moment of your life, every bit of life energy given to you is directed at your uprising against the limitations of your body, if you crave things beyond material with all your heart, God will give you what you ask. You must pray in your mind and especially in your actions, because your actions are the prayers God will hear. You must passionately refuse to accept your limitations, like Christy Brown who, despite his disability, plays football and provokes a classic Irish barroom brawl.

If you are persistent in your inner work, you can overcome any obstacle and become a writer, a painter and a poet – or anything else you want to be. You can even accomplish the most difficult feat of all: establishing true contact with another human being; such contact constitutes the climax of Jim Sheridan’s film.

Dimitri Vorontzov