My Name Is Joe (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  22 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 6,011 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 62 critic

Two thirtysomethings, unemployed former alcoholic Joe and community health worker Sarah, start a romantic relationship in the one of the toughest Glasgow neighbourhoods.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Kavanagh
Louise Goodall ...
Sarah Downie
Lorraine McIntosh ...
David McKay ...
Anne-Marie Kennedy ...
Sabine (as Annemarie Kennedy)
Scott Hannah ...
Gordon McMurray ...
James McHendry ...
Paul Clark ...
Paul Gillan ...
Stephen Docherty ...


Two thirtysomethings, unemployed former alcoholic Joe and community health worker Sarah, start a romantic relationship in the one of the toughest Glasgow neighbourhoods. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and some violence, sexuality and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | | |


Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Benim adim Joe  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£89,656 (UK) (13 November 1998)


$346,696 (USA) (23 April 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


With the exception of 'Peter Mullan' and Gary Lewis, all the people in the opening Alcoholics Anonymous meeting are actual members. See more »


The reflection of the boom microphone is visible in the television set when Sarah is talking with Sabine at the school. See more »


Sarah Downie: Get out of my way! Leave me!
Joe Kavanagh: No. No. No, calm down. Just calm down.
Sarah Downie: Are you gonna hit me too, Joe?
See more »


References Casper (1995) See more »


Published by KPM Music
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User Reviews

Entertaining film about "social issues"
14 January 1999 | by (Tonsberg, Norway) – See all my reviews

Ken Loach is a truly exceptional film-maker. Like Bunuel, he has seemingly risen from the dead (during Thatcher's reign) and re-emerged as an international force. I found his latest film "My name is Joe" to be a hugely enjoyable affair, perhaps a little less abrasive and direct than his earlier efforts, like "Poor cow" and "Family life". Even so, he depicts "working class"- people with the same warmth and insight as before.

The main character is Joe, a jobless reformed alcoholic in Glasgow with a heart of gold. In the attempt to better the lot of those around him, (and forget his self-loathing) Joe organizes a football team and makes house-calls on those in need of support, especially Liam and Sabine, a young couple in dire straits. Liam owes 500 pounds to the local drug-dealer, and Sabine has likewise racked up a debt. Joe tries his best to offer help, but when he is forced to perform a criminal act, he runs the risk of losing his law-abiding girl-friend into the bargain.

Joe is a character whom you instantly like. Even his transgressions won't make you think the worse of him, as he quite obviously suffers from what he's done. Joe wants to lead a "normal" life, stay on the right side of the law, get a girlfriend and what have you. But he just can't juggle off his past as a drunkard, he can't get off the dole and so hasn't the means to move away from his run-down apartment, his rotten little suburb. His only hope is to get someone to love him, someone to lift him out of the rut, to boost his self-esteem.

It is, for sure, a touching, humane story, beautifully scripted, shot in a simple style, and with a wonderful central performance by Peter Mullan. My question is, is it more? Is MNIJ a valid comment on deprived communities in Britain today? Do there still exist working class ethics like the ones Loach depicts in this movie? And are they still as relevant as when Britain was poor back in the 60' ies, the decade of Loach's first movies?

Granted, there are still poor, neglected people aplenty, but do they behave like this? This movie seems a little on the soft side compared to say Gillian MacKinnon's "Small faces", and even "Trainspotting". "MNIJ, I feel, is more of a self-contained Chekhovian drama than an attack on our bourgeois sensibilities.

(The soundtrack, by the way, consists mostly of dangerously out-dated glam-rock material from the 70' ies. Painful stuff!) Call me flippant, but I didn't feel like hitting a drug dealer, or tearing the social fabric after watching this movie. Perhaps it should have hurt more. Even so, it's a fabulous film by a unique director.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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