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I, Daniel Blake (2016)

R | | Drama | 21 October 2016 (UK)
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2:23 | Trailer
A middle aged carpenter who requires state welfare after injuring himself, is joined by a single mother in a similar scenario.

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200 ( 146)
Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 15 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Katie
...
...
Daisy
Dylan McKiernan ...
Dylan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Employment Support Allowance Assessor
Jane Birch ...
Librarian
...
Job Centre Floor Manager
Colin Coombs ...
Postman
...
Appeal Receptionist
Stephen Halliday ...
Furniture Dealer
Bryn Jones ...
Police Officer
Viktoria Kay ...
Woman of the House
Mick Laffey ...
Welfare Benefits Advisor
Dan Li ...
Stan Li
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Storyline

A 59 year old carpenter recovering from a heart attack, befriends a single mum and her two kids as they navigate their way through the kafkaesque impersonal benefits system. With equal amounts of humour, warmth and despair. Heartfelt and emotional until the end

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

21 October 2016 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Eu, Daniel Blake  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Ken Loach's second Palme d'Or; he won his first one in 2006 with The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Featured in Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Sailing By
Composed by Ronald Binge
Performed by 'The Alan Perry/William Gardner Orchestra'
(1963)
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User Reviews

 
a confronting portrait of an ordinary man struggling for his dignity in an Orwellian world
22 November 2016 | by (Sydney) – See all my reviews

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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