Moira and I went along to the Watershed this afternoon to see Ken Loach’s acclaimed film “I, Daniel Blake”. It’s the story of the friendship between an out-of-work, 59 year-old carpenter (Daniel Blake) and young single mother… who are both forced to navigate the challenges of the welfare system in Newcastle-on-Tyne.
(brilliantly played by Dave Johns) is recovering from a heart attack, but not yet
allowed (by his doctor and consultant) to return to work. As a result, he has
to apply for Employment and Support Allowance… but, in its wisdom, the government
has decreed that his benefits will be taken away unless he looks for work (but
he can’t work because his doctors have said he can’t… etc etc). This is all
made worse by the fact that all the required forms have to be completed online
(and Daniel hasn’t a clue about computers).
You get the picture.
Daniel befriends Katie (again, brilliantly played by Hayley Squires) at the
local Jobcentre… she’s being messed around by the “system” (which has included
her being relocated with her two children from a London homeless shelter) and
he endeavours to intervene (unsuccessfully, of course).
develop an unlikely, but very supportive, mutual alliance… but they struggle to
avoid being crushed by the bureaucracy.
massively powerful, beautiful, sad, emotional (and, sometimes, even funny) film.
Ken Loach (what would you expect?).
Yes, it’s ‘only’ a film.
sadly, it IS based on reality… people who genuinely struggle to provide for
their families – many just managing thanks largely to foodbanks… and some who just
don’t manage; people who struggle with farcical bureaucracy and with political
ideologies. As Loach has said: “Few people are aware of what’s going on, and
the scale of it, affecting hundreds of thousands of people, many of them
Honest, hard-working, humble, good
film that will shock and sadden you.
film about humiliation, degradation and despair.
it’s also a film about hope and goodness.
film that will probably make you cry and, if it’s anything like our experience
today, it’s a film that the audience will applaud at the end (how many times
does that happen?).
definitely need to see this film… and so should all our politicians who deal
with welfare and housing issues (Iain Duncan Smith has an awful lot to answer
In fact, EVERYONE should see this
abide with me
2 weeks ago