Stars: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Briana Shann, Dylan McKiernan.
Director: Ken Loach
Screenplay: Paul Laverty
Loach has brought to the screen a piece of real life that sadly reflects so many struggling people today. It tells the story of Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) and a mother, Kattie (Hayley Squires) of two children that he meets while at the welfare centre. It is a tale of ordinary people who need that little bit of help while going through a rough period and the state making it all the more complicated by their tight regulations around just how helpful they will be.
Daniel suffered a heart attack and so has been on welfare for medical reasons. Then he receives notice that he no longer is applicable for the welfare as the state sees him fit for work–even though his doctor says otherwise–and so he must request an appeal to get back his welfare. In the meantime he has to apply for jobs seekers allowance as he has no other source of income. This film very clearly expresses just how frustrating the state is when it comes to helping people on the benefit. They are so scared of people abusing the system that they are unwilling to believe that most of these people use the system correctly.
There is real heart in this film, and luckily for the most part it stays light on the topic while still showing just how ridiculous it can be. The relationship with Daniel and the family he befriends is heartwarming while also being heartbreaking.
Watching Kattie put her kids first in every action she takes crushes you. At dinner time she tells her kids she he already eaten, she cleans the flat in the middle of the night so her kids can take a nice bath in the morning, and she does all of this with such strength that can only come from a parent not wanting their kids not to feel safe. There is a scene in the food bank that if you have never cried in a movie this will be the scene what will break you.
This film explains how the state, though really does tries to help these struggling people needs to start treating them as that; people. They need to understand that everyone's situations are different and they should be treated as such.