I, Daniel Blake

Experience the compelling drama of ‘I, Daniel Blake,’ a film that sheds light on the heart-wrenching challenges faced by a carpenter navigating the UK welfare system after a health crisis. Discover the poignant bond he forms with a struggling single mother as they confront a callous bureaucracy, exploring themes of humanity, compassion, and resilience.

Shown: 6 March 2024

BBFC Ratings Badge 15

I, Daniel Blake Plot Synopsis

A 2016 British drama film directed by Ken Loach. The story centres on the titular character, Daniel Blake (played by Dave Johns), a 59-year-old carpenter in Newcastle, UK, who has recently suffered a heart attack and is deemed unfit for work by his doctors.

The film portrays Daniel’s frustrating journey through the UK’s welfare system as he attempts to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Despite his doctor’s recommendation and his evident health issues, he faces bureaucratic hurdles and a bewildering system that often seems designed to frustrate and dehumanize claimants.

During his struggle, Daniel encounters Katie (Hayley Squires), a single mother of two who has also fallen through the cracks of the social safety net. They form an unlikely but profound friendship, supporting each other through their shared hardships.

“I, Daniel Blake” is a powerful and socially relevant film that sheds light on the dehumanizing effects of a complex and sometimes callous bureaucracy on the lives of ordinary people. It explores themes of compassion, resilience, and the injustices faced by individuals caught in the welfare system’s web. The film earned critical acclaim and won the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for its raw and honest portrayal of social issues and the human spirit.

Film Reviews

Loach scans the contemporary landscape, and instead of a firebrand approach of stereotype, delivers a film of immense sadness. Someone should project this on the walls of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Andrew Lowry, Empire

I, Daniel Blake is about human value: disposable and abstract in one context; eternal, inviolable and sacred in another. They might underline the point a bit too thickly, but Loach and Laverty count on their audience to discern the difference, and to act accordingly.

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Official Film Trailer for I, Daniel Blake

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