Film: I, Daniel Blake
Director: Ken Loach. Writer: Paul Laverty. Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Sharon Percy.
Plot: A 59-year-old carpenter recovering from a heart attack (Johns) befriends a single mum (Squires) and her two children as they all try to make sense of the state’s bewildering and demoralising benefits system.
A typically plain tale, plainly told, from veteran left-wing director Loach. The characters are rarely more than one dimensional, and live in a world with few nuances or shades of grey.
But it still forces the audience (10 in the lunchtime screening I attended) to confront uncomfortable truths about Britain’s system of unemployment and sickness benefits, and our easy assumptions about the people who claim them. And there is one scene in a food bank that is genuinely shocking.
For all of its faults as a piece of cinematic art, this film deserves a wider audience than I suspect it will attract.
Cinema 2016: the films I’ve seen this year, and what I thought of them.