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



< February 2024

April 2024 >

Philomena

Experience the heart-wrenching and inspiring tale of ‘Philomena,’ a moving film that takes you on an emotional journey as Philomena Lee, accompanied by journalist Martin Sixsmith, unravels the secrets of her past and searches for the son she lost, touching on themes of love, faith, and the unbreakable mother-child bond.

Shown: 7 February 2024

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A
  • Date of release: 2013
  • Running time: 1h 38m
  • Director: Stephen Frears
  • Writers: Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope & Martin Sixsmith
  • Country: UK, France & USA
  • Language: English
  • Links: IMDB Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic BBFC

Philomena Plot Synopsis

A 2013 drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. The story is based on real events and the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by Martin Sixsmith.

The film revolves around the emotional journey of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), an Irish woman who, as a teenager, gave birth to a son out of wedlock. Her family sends her to a convent, where she is forced to give up her child for adoption. For decades, Philomena keeps this secret but eventually decides to search for her lost son.

In her quest, she is aided by Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a former journalist who has been disgraced and is looking for a human-interest story. Together, they embark on a journey to the United States to find Philomena’s long-lost son. The search uncovers painful truths about the Catholic Church’s adoption practices and the life her son has led.

“Philomena” is a moving exploration of forgiveness, faith, and the enduring bond between a mother and her child. It combines elements of drama and comedy as it delves into themes of love, loss, and the power of human connection. The film received critical acclaim for its powerful performances and poignant storytelling.

Film Reviews

Getting full comic effect from its class-comedy abrasions, Philomena rises to poignancy and profundity as Dench reveals her control of a character stained by the loss of her child and troubled by her suspicion.

Mary Corliss, Time

It’s profoundly moving and thoroughly mind provoking, but despite the poignant subject matter, I promise you will not leave Philomena depressed. I’ve seen it twice and felt exhilarated, informed, enriched, absorbed and optimistic both times.

Rex Reed, The Observer

Official Film Trailer for Philomena



< January 2024

February 2024 >

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Step into the enchanting world of ‘Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,’ a captivating film that follows the extraordinary journey of Ada Harris, a London cleaning woman, as she pursues her dream of owning a Christian Dior dress in post-World War II Paris. Join Ada on her transformative adventure filled with friendship and the timeless allure of fashion.

Shown: 3 January 2024

2019 BBFC Ratings Badge PG

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris Plot Synopsis

A 2022 British-American drama film directed by Anthony Fabian. The story is based on the novel of the same name by Paul Gallico. The film follows the life of Ada Harris (played by Lesley Manville), a widowed cleaning woman in post-World War II London. Ada’s mundane existence takes a dramatic turn when she becomes enamoured with a Christian Dior dress she sees in a customer’s closet. Determined to own such a dress, Ada embarks on a journey to Paris, encountering numerous obstacles and heart-warming moments along the way.

With the support of her friends and newfound allies, including a French fashion designer (Isabelle Huppert), Ada strives to make her dream a reality. “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” is a tale of resilience, friendship, and the transformative power of fashion, highlighting the pursuit of one’s dreams and the unexpected adventures that can ensue when taking bold steps. The film explores themes of self-discovery and the universal desire for beauty and elegance.

Film Reviews

Not to gush or go too far overboard, but the warmth of a movie like “Mrs. Harris” is downright restorative in the viewing, two escapist hours that remind us that everyone is entitled to courtesy, a fair shake and a little beauty and luxury, and most of all, the hope that life can get better.

Roger Moore, Movie Nation

Nothing wrong with a movie in today’s troubled winter of discontent that exists solely for the purpose of creating joy and good will, and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris spreads them around like butter.

Rex Reed, The Observer

Official Film Trailer for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris



< December 2023

February 2024 >

Radioactive

The incredible, true story of Marie Curie and her ground-breaking scientific achievements. In Paris, 1893, Marie meets fellow scientist Pierre Curie. The pair go on to marry, raise two daughters and change the face of science forever by jointly winning the Nobel Prize for the discovery of radium in 1903.

Shown: 1 November 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating 86%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

Radioactive Plot Synopsis

Radioactive is the incredible, true story of Marie Curie and her ground-breaking scientific achievements. In Paris, 1893, Marie meets fellow scientist Pierre Curie. The pair go on to marry, raise two daughters and change the face of science forever by jointly winning the Nobel Prize for the discovery of radium in 1903. Marie Curie was the first female scientist to win the esteemed prize.

After the death of her beloved Pierre, Marie continues her research and invites scandal when she has an affair with another prominent scientist, Paul Langevin. However, it is Marie’s commitment to science which prevails, and the responsibility that comes with discoveries that quite literally change the world. Intercut between past and various sections of the present, we see how their science shaped both modern medicine and the advent of nuclear power and weapons.

Film Reviews

Life, death, science, mysticism, love and hate blend together to reveal depths of an internationally renowned genius. Deeply personal, sometimes tipping into the experimental, Radioactive is like no biographical feature I’ve ever seen.

Joelle Monique, Paste Magazine

As startling as it is to see the beloved scientist hated in her time, that we’re able to see this headstrong legend as a sexual being at all is a credit to how much Pike gradually humanizes her as a woman, while never pleading for our pity.

Amy Nicholson, Variety

Official Film Trailer for Radioactive



< October 2023

December 2023 >

The Children Act

As her marriage flounders, eminent High Court judge Fiona Maye has a life-changing decision to make at work – should she force a teenage boy to have the blood transfusion that will save his life? Her unorthodox visit to his hospital bedside has a profound impact on them both.

Shown: 4 October 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating: 94%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

The Children Act Plot Synopsis

Smart, elegant, and deeply moving, The Children Act stars two-time Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson in a riveting performance as Fiona Maye, a British High Court judge who, in the midst of a marital crisis, must rule on a life-changing legal case concerning the survival of a teenage boy. At issue whether to order a blood transfusion on the boy (Dunkirk’s Fionn Whitehead), a Jehovah’s Witness who, just months short of his eighteenth birthday, is refusing on religious grounds the procedure that would save his life. Adapted by Ian McEwan from his own novel, and directed by Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal; Iris), The Children Act is a deeply affecting portrait of strength, devotion, and love, with the incomparable Emma Thompson giving one of the very best performances of her career.

Film Reviews

The Children Act is a masterpiece from beginning to end and it should not be missed.

Tiffany Tchobanian, Film Threat

The Children Act is a cerebral piece, for sure, and a disturbing one by the end, but Thompson’s performance brings life to the complex moral questions it attempts to examine.

Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

Official Film Trailer for The Children Act



< September 2023

November 2023 >

Brian and Charles

After a particularly harsh winter Brian goes into a deep depression; completely isolated and with no one to talk to, Brian does what any sane person would do when faced with such a melancholic situation. He builds a robot.

Shown: 6 September 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating: 61%

2019 BBFC Ratings Badge PG

Brian and Charles Plot Synopsis

Brian and Charles follows Brian, a lonely inventor in rural Wales, who spends his days building quirky, unconventional contraptions that seldom work. Undeterred by his lack of success, Brian attempts his biggest project yet. Three days, a washing machine, and various spare parts later, he’s invented Charles, an artificially intelligent robot who learns English from a dictionary and has an obsession with cabbages. What follows is a humorous and entirely heartwarming story about friendship, family, finding love, and letting go.

Film Reviews

If themes about the importance of friendship, hope, and love land a bit on the nose, there’s no denying Brian and Charles takes an innovative approach to delivering them, even if — see above — the tack is brazenly metaphorical. Yet its distinctive charms are resonant enough to offset a slender story in what nevertheless amounts to a sweet and earnest, modern-day fable.

Kim Huges – Original Cin

It isn’t easy to develop a sketch-length idea into a feature film and not easy to pivot from ironic comedy into dark Straw Dogs-style menace, and then into a sweet-natured happy ending. But Earl, Hayward and Archer have managed it. It’s the bromance of the year.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Official Film Trailer for Brian and Charles



< March 2023

October 2023 >

Dream Horse

Dream Alliance is an unlikely race horse bred by small-town Welsh bartender Jan Vokes. With no experience, Jan convinces her neighbours to chip in their meagre earnings to help raise Dream in the hopes he can compete with the racing elites.

Shown: 5 April 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating: 96%

2019 BBFC Ratings Badge PG

Dream Horse Plot Synopsis

Experience the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town bartender, Jan Vokes (Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream and compete with the racing elites. Their investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks and becomes a beacon of hope in their struggling community.

Film Reviews

We can see every plot point rounding the turn long before the finish line, but that’s OK, because we’re having a (dare I say it) jolly grand time every step of the way.

Richard Roeper – Chicago Sun Times

Sure it’s hokey, but this fact-based crowd-pleaser starring a terrific Toni Collette as a struggling Welsh villager who risks everything on a racehorse she breeds and raises is an underdog story that works like a charm.

Peter Travers, ABC News

Official Film Trailer for Dream Horse



< March 2023

September 2023 >

Top Gun: Maverick

After thirty years, Maverick is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator, but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads TOP GUN’s elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.

Shown: 1 March 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating: 83%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

Top Gun: Maverick Plot Synopsis

After more than thirty years of service, military awards, medals and decorations for extraordinary heroism in combat, distinguished US Navy Captain Pete Mitchell, call sign Maverick, finds himself exactly where he belongs: pushing the limits as a top test pilot. Having spent years avoiding promotions after the events of Top Gun (1986), Maverick must now confront the ugly past and an uncertain future while tasked with training the next generation of elite fighter pilots for a nearly impossible suicide mission. As the veteran naval aviator prepares the brilliant graduates for the top-secret assignment, stretching the rules to the breaking point, Mitchell has to face an equally critical challenge: navigate through an uncomfortable relationship with a hotshot lieutenant holding a grudge. Can Maverick and his Top Guns perform a miracle, give the enemy hell, and come back home in one piece?Nick Riganas

Film Reviews

This is the ideal example of a big summer blockbuster and one of the best legacy sequels we’ve ever gotten: a movie that knows how to move along and give you what you came for.

Trace Sauveur – The Austin Chronicle

Thrilling, moving and gloriously Cruisey, Joseph Kosinski’s sequel to the 1986 hit is unquestionably the best studio action film in years.

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

Official Film Trailer for Top Gun: Maverick



< February 2023

April 2023 >

Finding Your Feet

On the eve of retirement a middle class, judgmental snob discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend and is forced into exile with her bohemian sister who lives on an impoverished inner-city council estate.

Shown: 1 February 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating: 97%

BBFC 12 Rating Badge
  • Date of release: 2017
  • Running time: 1h 51m
  • Director: Richard Loncraine
  • Writers: Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft
  • Country: UK
  • Language: English
  • Links: IMDB Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic BBFC

Finding Your Feet Plot Synopsis

When “Lady” Sandra Abbott discovers that her husband of 40 years is having an affair with her best friend, she seeks refuge in London with her estranged, older sister Bif. The two could not be more different – Sandra is a fish out of water next to her outspoken, serial dating, free-spirited sibling. But different is just what Sandra needs at the moment, and she reluctantly lets Bif drag her along to a community dance class, where she starts finding her feet.

Film Reviews

Finding Your Feet finds its own footing by putting its trust in its sturdy performers and avoiding many of the usual tea-time clichés as it allows its British cast to be defined by their relatable human circumstances more than quaint Anglo quirks.

Susan Wloszzczyna – RogerEbert.com

The modest rewards in Finding Your Feet are ones of sprightly human chemistry rather than great narrative discovery, of all-round good humour rather than outright hilarity.

Guy Lodge, Variety

Official Film Trailer for Finding Your Feet



< January 2023

March 2023 >

Belfast

From director Kenneth Branagh, Belfast is a personal story about the power of memory. Set in late 1960s Northern Ireland, a young boy on the cusp of adolescence and childhood hijinks. Yet, with his hometown caught up in turmoil, his family faces a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything for a new life.

Shown: 4 January 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating: 93%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

Belfast Plot Synopsis

From lauded director Kenneth Branagh, and starring an acclaimed ensemble cast, Belfast is a personal and joyful story about the power of memory, set in late 1960s Northern Ireland. At the centre of the film is Buddy, a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, whose life is filled with familial love, childhood hijinks, and a blossoming romance. Yet, with his beloved hometown caught up in increasing turmoil, his family faces a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything they know behind for a new life.

Film Reviews

Taken all together, Branagh’s film is in its own special way like a cinematic equivalent of the Irish brogue that fills it: It’s lovely, it’s lyrical and it’s next to impossible not to be swept up by its charms.

Mike Scott

There’s only one trouble with his semi-autobiographical account. It’s so polished—so spirited, funny and skillfully calibrated—that it could be taken for a while as a crowd-pleaser and not a lot more. Sign me up for the crowd, though. This is surely the most pleasing film I’ve seen so far this year, but also the most affecting.

Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

Official Film Trailer for Belfast



< December 2022

February 2023 >