I, Daniel Blake

By Angie Raphael

Sometimes you watch a film to escape the world for a couple of hours but sometimes a film holds a mirror up to its audience, shining a light on the harsh realities of life. I, Daniel Blake is probably the most heartbreaking film of the year, but its message is very important. Middle-aged carpenter Daniel (Dave Johns) needs state welfare until his doctor gives him the go-ahead to return to work, but runs into difficulty dealing with bureaucrats. Along the way, he meets single mother Katie (Hayley Squires) who is also struggling with the complicated benefits system. The sympathetic characters provide a window into the difficult lives of people who depend on government support to make ends meet and the hurdles decent people often face. Johns is compelling but it is Squires who has some of the most emotionally devastating moments. To balance out all the heavy drama, writer Paul Laverty has thrown in some beautiful family moments and some humour throughout. Director Ken Loach also keeps the pace steady and it is no wonder the film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Bring tissues and an open heart for I, Daniel Blake. You may even feel the urge to start giving back to your local community afterwards.

* Luna Palace Cinemas is providing Foodbank WA bins at Cinema Paradiso and Luna on SX during opening weekend for people to make donations.