Uncomfortable truths confronted

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.

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