During the Depression, Jimmy Gralton returns home to Ireland after ten years of exile in America. Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens and he looks to re-open the dance hall that led to his deportation.
A 59 year old carpenter recovering from a heart attack befriends a single mother and her two kids as they navigate their way through the impersonal, Kafkaesque benefits system. With equal amounts of humor, warmth and despair, the journey is heartfelt and emotional until the end.
When Daniel is in the benefits office the adviser Ann notices he looks unwell and sits him down and gives Daniel a plastic cup of water. Initially when Daniel gets the cup there are two or three cups stick together, as sometimes happens, the film then cuts away and then back and Daniels cup has become just one plastic cup. See more »
We should all be drinking a lot more bloody coffee.
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Composed by Ronald Binge
Performed by The Alan Perry/William Gardner Orchestra as The Perry/Gardner Orchestra
Conducted by Ronald Binge
Licensed courtesy of Mozart Edition (Great Britain) Ltd. See more »
Many other reviewers have already spoken eloquently and in detail, in praise of this deeply moving, superlative film. I'd just like to offer an observation from a somewhat different angle. What struck me about 'I, Daniel Blake' was an aspect of subaltern powerlessness that pundits often overlook, i.e., that the poor and marginalized are almost never in control of their own time. In the USA dentists, doctors, therapists, lawyers, and all sorts of professionals get to maximize and monetize their time to the nth degree. As for govt. agencies like the DMV or employment or benefits offices--they are often (under-)staffed by bureaucrats who are in no hurry to accommodate John Q. Public. Patients/clients/supplicants wait (and wait and wait) in their spot on the usually stalled conveyor belt to get their allotted modicum of perfunctory attention. After all, they're just cogs in the revenue stream and THEIR time is deemed unimportant. Same thing with phone access to govt. agencies, bureaucracies, insurance companies, you name it. These corporate entities have complex and often confusing "phone trees," long wait times on hold (during which horrendous music plays), and customers reps who are often either obtuse, indifferent, mean-spirited, or confused themselves. For the poor seeking any sort of public assistance these nuisances and indignities are multiplied tenfold because--as 'I, Daniel Blake' dramatizes--the System doesn't really want to serve the so-called "disadvantaged"; it wants poor folk in need to get discouraged and go away (and hopefully die and decrease the surplus population).
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