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I, Daniel Blake
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I, Daniel Blake More at IMDbPro »

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29 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Hard Hitting Real Acting

10/10
Author: SinghNo1 from London
28 September 2016

This film is hard hitting and heart wrenching, tears through and came out crying.

A try to replicate how the authorities are treating the venerable in the face of devastation. It is heart wrenching. It might have been based what has happened to a few in the recent past. I think Paul Laverty took a leaf out of the records and wrote the strip and Ken Loach put it on screen in the best possible way.

Agree with other reviewer A must see film by not just the general public but the Authorities to waken them up and hit them hard.

At the end at least in our screening there were applause of appreciation to Ken to show how well he has done to make this look so real.

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29 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

A wake up call for Tory Britain. Brilliantly satirises our hateful benefits system.

9/10
Author: markgorman from United Kingdom
22 October 2016

Ken Loach does it again.

If you know Ken Loach (and importantly his writing partner Paul Laverty) you'll know I, Daniel Blake.

It's a nightmare.

A total nightmare.

Life on poverty line Britain that is.

And Loach hammers this home with gusto.

He chooses Newcastle as his latest political landscape, partly because "it's grim up North" but also because, in my experience, Geordies are the salt of the earth; kind, lovable folks. And this is the main emotional driver of this nightmare.

Daniel Blake is caught in a trap.

A bureaucratic hell populated by "computer says no" mini Hitlers occupying mainly minor roles in the Jobseeker hell that is Tory Britain. In a bid to out 'scroungers' the system has eaten itself and is spitting out vulnerable pitiful fodder like Daniel (played deeply sympathetically by comedian Dave Johns. He'll never win an Oscar but this part was made for him) and the lovable but deeply vulnerable Katie (played equally well by Hayley Squires - Call the Midwife).

He's had a heart attack and his doctors say he can't work but the Benefits Police say he has to go on jobseeker allowance and look for work or lose all entitlement to any money AT ALL.

It's farcical.

She's moved from a women's hostel in London because she can't afford a flat in London with her two children (one slightly miscast as a rather posh daughter, Daisy). She's having the same problems, only hers start from a tinpot Hitler chucking her out of the Job Centre for being late for her appointment.

They bond. He helps her. She helps him. It's grim but deeply affecting. We then follow their shared struggle.

In many ways this movie is like a Ken Loach Primer. It has all his usual trademarks and the 'working class people are good' message is laid on way too thickly.

But.

And it's a big but they are in a profoundly believable real-life drama and I found myself in tears (of collective shame?) three times during it.

It certainly makes the reality of food banks in Britain very, very meaningful. I won't pass a collection point again if my conscience holds up.

Everything that is good about Loach is in this film. In parts it's laugh out loud funny (but it's laughs of derision at our State). In parts it's deeply moving, even though some of the plot is verging on the ridiculous.

But who cares. Ken Loach holds a mirror up to our frankly DISGUSTING society and mocks it.

But he mocks it with the most vicious of venom.

It feels real. Really real.

It's a must see.

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23 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

From Britain to China, workers' very own solidarity is their social security

9/10
Author: sakarkral (sakarkral@yahoo.com) from Turkey
8 October 2016

This movie caught me by my heart, like every other piece by Laverty- Loach cooperation. It is not a thriller, there are no twists, no peaks of emotions. It shows the naked reality of our everyday lives with its great pains and humor at the same time. But, the "banality" of these great pains is the strength of the movie, it shows how every encounter with the system is the time we face the reality of the system and look for someone who will give a hand us to survive it. Of course, this is mostly valid for the working class. The film softly depicts that it is not a socialist propaganda, because when truly shown the reality itself unveils as a socialist propaganda.

But the film is not another documentaristic presentation of the everyday life of a worker, as it also shows how to cope with all these we experience. It is the formation of a solidarity with others like us, the woman in the queue, the Chinese in the factory, the black in the warehouse, the clerk at the office... We are already connected, even with those in other continents. Once we see someone shouting with his writing on the wall, we should shout with him with our voice. If one of them writes a letter, another should spread its word.

A shot in the head of the Britain's social security system, a great call for solidarity.

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20 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Gritty but compulsive

9/10
Author: valhowells-55770
26 September 2016

I left the cinema with a lot to think about after viewing this film. A gritty and realistic drama portraying the processes and outcomes of claimants caught up in today's benefit system, sometimes with dreadful outcomes.

Every public servant, politician and voluntary sector worker should be expected to watch this film. A lot of it is not easy viewing, and certainly not suitable for a fun night out, but the message it gives about today's society is compelling.

I think a message should be included on-screen but before the credits suggesting people contact the Citizens' Advice Bureau if they are experiencing any of the issues raised in the film.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Art reflects Life?

10/10
Author: John Dally
1 November 2016

I have just watched this film and felt I had to add my voice to others who have rated it.

Ken Loach has nailed it again.

While many came in to see it with the usual cinema food that can be a noisy distraction as the film progressed you could have heard a pin drop.

As the credits started to roll I started to applaud, others joined in. I have never been to see a film where I felt this was necessary.

Sadly the film showed how dysfunctional the systems meant to support are failing.

This film should mandatory for all in authority and all M.P.s and members of the House of Lords to view.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A heartwrenching look at the British benefits system...

8/10
Author: ellscashncarry
25 September 2016

A heartwrenching look at the British benefits system which presents a real juxtaposition to the ubiquitous 'Benefits Street', 'Daily Mail 'scroungers' headlines-type culture that we've become so accustomed to.

'I, Daniel Blake' follows the lives of Daniel and Katie who, although from very different backgrounds both appear to be suffering similar fates at the hands of The State.

With believable, real characters, excellent acting and an engaging plot, the film really draws you in, and leaves you feeling grateful for what you have. Yes it clearly has a political message and no it won't be for everyone but it certainly can't be knocked. Better and more important than many of the so called 'blockbusters' we'll see this year.

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Unapologetically Political, Openly Moral

7/10
Author: Ilpo Hirvonen from Finland
21 September 2016

After Ken Loach's latest film "I, Daniel Blake" (2016) took home the most prestigious film award of the year, Palme d'Or at Cannes earlier this summer, there has been a lot of discussion or at least anticipation of discussion on the film. The Guardian, for one, published a long article where people from all walks of life shared their differing opinions on the film. As a fierce story of social relevance, telling about an ailing carpenter whose life goes to pieces in the vast sea of bureaucracy, "I, Daniel Blake" is bound to be criticized for being didactic and demagogic as it hits the commercial screens. Some will fall in love with the film for its honest authenticity, while others will be put off by its unapologetic directness.

The film begins with the title character, Daniel Blake going through an assessment in the unemployment office after his doctor has deemed him unfit for work due to a heart condition. Unfortunately, Daniel ends up in a paradoxical position, the likes which Kafka could have devised, where he is not concerned unhealthy enough to apply for sickness benefit and has to therefore apply for job seeker's allowance, coercing him into a pointless cycle of searching for jobs he cannot really take. In the middle of this absurd jungle of gray offices and red tapes, Daniel befriends Katie, a single mother of two in a similar situation. Daniel's cardinal sin in the bureaucratic world is his refusal to play by its rules, to fake and to pull the strings where needed.

Loach is known for his simplicity in both style and narrative without ever coming close to minimalism. His simplicity is of a different kind, a simplicity of the heart on the level of the subject matter which is often social by nature. This simplicity gives room for the unfolding of story and character in their natural state which is of the utmost importance for Loach's intentions. At times warm and funny, at others raw and brutal, the story of "I, Daniel Blake" is hard to be dismissed for its authenticity. It will likely speak to most people as do the great realist novels of the 19th century. It is a simple voice with real thought and emotion behind it, saying something of relevance, straight out and loud. While the title of the film might pave way for quasi-libertarian interpretations of Loach's critique of the social benefits system, his intentions could not be clearer to those who have seen the film. The titular character is merely someone to carry the torch of solidarity; to Loach and others, he represents a mass of millions. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote that the film "intervenes in the messy, ugly world of poverty with the secular intention of making us see that it really is happening, and in a prosperous nation." This is the simplicity which gives Loach's cinema its moral aura.

Although many may feel put off by the film's direct social message and strong moral pathos, which can feel didactic or even demagogic at times, and it will not find its dearest fan in yours truly either, I think the film deserves acclaim for its integrity. The film does not hide its rhetoric or its message. After all, its "leftist agitation" may not be stranger than the ideology of upper middle class family life propagated by contemporary popular culture. The way I see it, "I, Daniel Blake" is more a personal expression of worry and concern rather than manufactured propaganda with an impersonal agenda. At worst the film might be preachy or sentimental, but at best it is the most authentic thing Ken Loach has done since "My Name Is Joe" (1998), a parallel work in the truest sense of the word. To put it bluntly, I am glad that "Jimmy's Hall" (2014) did not end up being the legacy Loach left for cinema; but "I, Daniel Blake" could very well be just that.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A raw and honest look at ow the British system fails it's people

8/10
Author: Guy Jeffries from London, Uk
23 October 2016

Ken Loach is a name I always recognise but then struggle to remember any of his work. I think, "ah good, it's by Ken Loach" and then "what's he done again? Oh Kes!" But Kes was 47 years ago and shamefully, I'm not familiar with any of his films since then. One conclusion from this realisation is that Loach has a strong reputation as a filmmaker and this was my long awaited reunion.

We follow Daniel Blake, a middle-aged carpenter who's taken a few recent knocks, one of which is suffering a heart-attack and deemed not able to return to work. It's a position no one would want to be in, forced to sacrifice your own health or lose everything you have worked so hard for.

We witness the hurdles that seem purposely put there to hinder payments, speaking from personal experience I can relate to this situation to a degree. How are people such as Daniel Blake suppose to survive, or better still, have a good life they are suppose to be able to live.

It's a harsh reality on how parts of the British system fails it's people and proof that there's no real incentive to do things by the book. Having been in a similar situation myself, skirting the unemployment line getting advise from people who have no ambitious or understanding of what I wanted to do.

Taking this on a more personal level, I quit a stressful position last year in the hopes of pursuing my own dream of being an artist and writer. Having to sign agreement that I would spend a number of hours trying to find work and having to provide evidence of doing so each fortnight would grant me the universal credit that I never actually received. I actually had a good case worker, as everyplace of work has good people, but equally there are those that can't see beyond, much like what is portrayed in this story. Though, instead of supporting me in trying to be something I both enjoy and apparently good at, they attempted to find me similar stressful jobs that I left for my own sanity, wanting to place me back amongst the wolves.

Dave Johns is exceptional as Daniel Blake, emitting the boiling frustrations of the soul- destroying turn of events, right to the very end. Hayley Squires' Katie is short of brilliant too, displaying the tremendous pressure when faced with these kind of tribulations. Though, the acting from the rest of the supporting cast is less desirable, it's forgivable.

It's a raw, honest and emotional look at the suffering and poor way of life some unfortunate people have to contend with in Great Britain. It's compelling, invoking and upsetting, showing the great lengths and risks people go through in order to maintain their self dignity. It's certainly a film that boasts Loach's credibility.

Running Time: 8 The Cast: 7 Performance: 7 Direction: 7 Story: 8 Script: 8 Creativity: 8 Soundtrack: 6 Job Description: 10 The Extra Bonus Points: 10 for the difficult subject matter and perfect portrayal. Would I buy the Bluray?: yes

79% 8/10

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

a confronting portrait of an ordinary man struggling for his dignity in an Orwellian world

8/10
Author: CineMuseFilms from Sydney
22 November 2016

If film is a mirror on society then the sheer volume of recent movies about the ugliness of the post- GFC world is a reflection of the scale of devastation it has caused. Most are essays in poverty that explore the loss of humanity for ordinary people. The film I, Daniel Blake (2016) is another in this genre. It is an intense portrait of an ordinary man who struggles to retain dignity in an Orwellian world. Far from entertaining, it is gritty, raw, and unrelenting.

Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a rough-speaking but likable 59-year-old tradesman in Newcastle, England. He is recovering from a serious heart attack and lives alone. Unable to work, he does what thousands like him do in such circumstances: he applies for support allowance so he can pay his bills until health returns. What happens next is not the point, rather it is how it happens that will make you cringe. Form-filling becomes an obstacle course for preventing people like Daniel from getting help and the staff who process him absolve themselves of responsibility through constant referral to the "decision-maker" who is never there. Denied support allowance, he must apply for a job-seeker benefit that requires 35 hours a week of documented job hunting. His protestations are officially sanctioned and he loses all support.

In the midst of his own inhuman treatment by a soul-less bureaucracy Daniel tries to help a single mother with two young children who is also crushed by the system. Katie (Hayley Squires) has moved from a homeless hostel and is living on food handouts because her benefits have been stopped. She finds 'affordable accommodation' that Daniel offers to repair and he becomes a father figure. Still unable to buy shoes for her children, Katie finds the kind of work that shocks Daniel but is the last resort for many abandoned by a social welfare system with gaping holes in its safety net. Desperate to help her, Daniel vents his frustration through graffiti on the welfare office wall and briefly becomes an urban hero.

This is a disturbing film that many audiences will find confronting, particularly those who think they live in a caring society that supports people in need. The pace is slow and the dialogue often terse, but that's how life is at the bottom. The subdued cinematography and colour palette accentuates the drabness of life for the dispossessed. Perfectly cast, the two main actors fill their roles with an authentic voice for countless ordinary people who fall on hard times. There is no joy in this film and whatever humour you find is there to make the story bearable. But in a world that moves inexorably towards a hard-right social conscience, it is a film that cries out to be seen and heard.

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14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Not one of Loach's best efforts

7/10
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.
9 October 2016

Daniel Blake (Dave Johns), a 59-year old heart attack victim who is trying to collect welfare in the city of Newcastle, England comes up against a dehumanizing system that seems to be out to thwart him at every step of the process in I, Daniel Blake, British director Ken Loach and his long time scriptwriter Ken Laverty's latest collaboration. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the film has a social conscience and does not hesitate to pull out all the emotional stops, but is unfortunately undercut by an excessive amount of speech making, contrived situations, and sentimentality. Performed by British stand-up comedian Dave Johns, the film is guaranteed to bring laughter, tears, and also anger at the system's coldhearted bureaucrats who know about rules and regulations but not so much about people's needs.

The film opens with a black screen. Slowly, we begin to hear a man being interviewed by a woman who identifies herself as a health-care professional. Having to answer lame questions about his cognitive abilities and motor skills but nothing about his heart, Dan tells the interviewer, "We're getting further and further away from my heart." He has been told by his doctor that he is not ready to go back to work and has applied for an Employment and Support Allowance, a stipend paid to those unable to work because of a disability. Unfortunately, the government concludes that he is fit for work, forcing him to appeal to the "decision maker" to change the ruling.

Forced to jump through a set of hoops just to earn the right to appeal, Dan must prove that he has spent 35 hours a week looking for work. Applying for Jobseeker's Allowance and not being computer savvy, he has to seek help just to learn how to use a mouse. When he meets Katie (Hayley Squires), a young single mother with two small children (Briana Shann and Dylan Phillip McKiernan) who has just come from London and is in need of assistance, the story becomes about people working together to provide mutual support in dealing with a faceless bureaucracy.

Dan and Katie become friends with Dan offering moral support and using his carpenter skills to make her flat more livable. Katie looks for work as a cleaner, sacrifices food to make sure her children are fed, and is even forced to work briefly as a call girl. One of the most heartbreaking scenes occurs at a visit to the local Food Bank when Katie has a breakdown after opening and eating a can of baked beans, but both are resilient and determined not to let the system crush them.

I, Daniel Blake, without question, comes from a good place and Blake captures our allegiance with his grumpy determination, kindness and concern for others, but there is little room here for nuance, balance, or objectivity. The film exists to make a point and everything else is subordinate to that. Though the performances are first-rate and Johns has perfect comic timing, I, Daniel Blake is not, in my view, one of Loach's better efforts.

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