I, Daniel Blake (2016 – Ken Loach)


Comfy in a reclining chair, I sat back to watch this film in genteel Greenwich.  As the film progressed, I fidgeted, uncomfortable with the scenes of poverty and desperation in front of me.  Imagine what kind of person you’d have to be to watch this film and think that it’s somehow their fault?  How do we live in a world where compassion and conscience are luxuries?

It’s not a perfect film – after all, it’s a story where a young mother is forced into prostitution to care for her kids is secondary to a man having a heart attack.  But the film does attempt to show the limits of his (and my own) understanding of her life.  However, there is this interesting blend of naturalism, highly scripted conversations and seemingly unrehearsed performance that removes the film from the oppressive kitchen-sink realism that can bog down this form of cinema.

At the end of the showing spontaneous applause broke out in the room.  It was quite moving, and not something I am used to in a cinema – It felt like we as an audience had shared a moment, something akin to what church is meant to be.  It doesn’t seem like this was an isolated experience.

I am Daniel Blake.  Maybe we all are.



See at the Greenwich Picturehouse.  Nice sized screen with very comfy seats and excellent sound.  Ticket cost £7 because it was a Monday.

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