Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Avatar and My Left Foot

So, I've been watching Avatar. It's a great movie, with the signature Cameron touches - a dramatic romance that is threatened on all sides, a desperate fight for survival, and nonstop action and bravery. 

The scenery is lush and lovingly detailed, and the small touches are gorgeous. I particularly love the phosphorescent plants and water and face paint. 

Plus, it's very cool that the hero is a quadriplegic who overcomes adversity with his own determination, heart, and intelligence. Of course, for the most part he does so in a borrowed body.

(OK, that's why I watched the movie. Jake Sully's blue buns are sexy, yo.)
A scene where a 12 foot tall blue guy wrestles a dragon? I'm so in.

There's another movie about a man who also achieves great things with his own challenged physique. My Left Foot was filmed in 1989, and it is the story of Christy Brown. He was an Irish artist born with cerebral palsy. Christy, who is played by Daniel Day-Lewis, could only control his left foot.
From one of my favorite scenes, set in one of my favorite places: the Obelix at Killiney Hill.

He first used it to "make contact" as a child when he was able to write a letter A with a piece of chalk. His mother, who had been told that her son was "an idiot," was vindicated for believing in his intelligence.

The film itself is gorgeous and set around Dublin. It stars the luminous Brenda Fricker as Brown's mother, and of course Daniel Day-Lewis is always incredible.
Brenda Fricker
I love that the movie doesn't sugar-coat Christy Brown as a sort of saint. He was a hard drinker and a pain in the ass at times; in other words, he was a real human who happened to be a talented novelist and artist.
Yellow Face by Christy Brown

I am a big fan of both Avatar and My Left Foot, but I think that showing the human spirit soar without escaping the cage of the body is amazing. So, I'll keep checking out the world of the Na'vi, but I also salute my fellow Irishman.

PS - If, like me, you enjoy stories about the human spirit succeeding over physical challenges, you should also read The Butterfly and the Diving Bell. 


SM Johnson said...

If you like Avatar, you should loooove the Allie's War series by JC Andrijeski. Best series I've read in YEARS. As I read them the 2nd time, I'm noticing more how deeply layered the story and the world is. **sigh**

Alison DeLuca said...

Thanks so much for the recommendation! The Allie's War series looks great. So many books, so little time!

Unknown said...

OK so question, think about the movie and think about movie genres... do you think you could call this a Western? As in having the conventions of a Western movie?

Alison DeLuca said...

Great question, and I think that you could indeed! Although, it's more in the tradition of "How the West Was Lost".

And I could say more, but of course that would be a major spoiler. Suffice to say that I found the ending to Avatar extremely satisfactory.