Sorry We Missed You (2019)

Sorry We Missed You
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Paul Laverty
Cast: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor, Ross Brewster, Charlie Richmond
Seen on: 12.3.2020

Plot:
Ricky (Kris Hitchen) has been struggling job-wise for a while, so he is very excited when he gets the opportunity to start as a subcontractor for a delivery company. It does mean selling his wife Abby’s (Debbie Honeywood) car to buy a truck, complicating her own work day as a carer, going from home visit to home visit. Both are out all day for six days a week to barely get enough money to get by – which is also difficult for their two children, Seb (Rhys Stone) who is in full puberty mode and Liza Jae (Katie Proctor) who is anxious all the time. What looked to be a great possibility for the whole family soon turns out more curse than blessing.

You can always rely on Ken Loach to put the finger where it hurts, to point out exactly the ways in which (neoliberal, capitalist) society is fundamentally broken. Sorry We Missed You is another effective and affective political/sociological analysis in movie form.

The film poster showing the central family standing in front of a brown wall.
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Yuli (2018)

Yuli
Director: Icíar Bollaín
Writer: Paul Laverty
Based on: Carlos Acosta‘s autobiography No Way Home
Cast: Carlos Acosta, Santiago Alfonso, Keyvin Martínez, Edlison Manuel Olbera Núñez, Laura De la Uz, Yerlín Pérez
Seen on: 22.2.2019

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism

Plot:
Carlos (Edlison Manuel Olbera Núñez) is a wild child who enjoys running through the streets of Havana and being free. But his father (Santiago Alfonso) is convinced that Carlos has a talent for dance – and this talent shouldn’t go to waste. Despite Carlos’ constant escape attempts, he finds his way as a dancer – an internationally successful dancer at that.

Yuli is a really nice film with gorgeous dance scenes. It may have run a tad too long, but it is definitely worth seeing – especially if you like dancing.

The film poster showing a close-up of young Carlos (Edlison Manuel Olbera Núñez). In the place of his cheek is adult Carlos (Carlos Acosta) in a dance pose on the streets of Havana.
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I, Daniel Blake (2016)

I, Daniel Blake
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Paul Laverty
Cast: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Briana Shann, Dylan McKiernan, Kate Rutter, Sharon Percy
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 28.10.2016

Plot:
Daniel (Dave Johns) has worked all his life – until he had a heart attack. Now his doctors haven’t cleared him to work yet, but after completing a standard questionnaire at the employment agency, they disagree. Now Daniel is caught in a conundrum: he can’t claim support on the basis on health issues because he is deemed healthy enough to work, but neither can he claim unemployment benefits because he can’t actually look for work. Caught in the bureaucracy he finds Katie (Hayles Squires), a single mother of two who just had to move to Newcastle and away from her entire support network or risk losing the government housing and support she so desperately needs. Daniel and Katie start facing this inhumane conditions together.

I, Daniel Blake is political cinema at its finest. It’s emotional, realistic and a damning statement about what’s left of the welfare system in the UK. If you don’t go out of the film ready to tear down neoliberal austerity politics, I really don’t know what’s wrong with you.

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Jimmy’s Hall (2014)

Jimmy’s Hall
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Paul Laverty
Based on: Donal O’Kelly‘s play
Cast: Barry Ward, Simone Kirby, Andrew Scott, Jim Norton, Brían F. O’Byrne, Aisling Franciosi

Plot:
Jimmy Gralton (Barry Ward) returns to Ireland from the USA where he had to flee after opening a community dance hall that went against everything Father Sheridan (Jim Norton) stood for. Now he’s back and actually wants to take it slow. But the demand for the hall is still there and Jimmy is too invested in the original idea not to give it another shot. Since Ireland is in the middle of the communist scare and this dance hall a decidedly socialist project, Jimmy is bound to make some enemies again.

Jimmy’s Hall is a beautifully shot, engaging and political film set in Ireland – so pretty much what you’d expect from Ken Loach (though he sometimes makes films that are set in the UK as well). And that’s a very good thing.

jimmyshall

 

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The Angels’ Share (2012)

The Angels’ Share
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Paul Laverty
Cast: Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw, Gary Maitland, Jasmin Riggins, William Ruane, Roger Allam, Siobhan Reilly

Plot:
Robbie (Paul Brannigan) just barely got away with community service after his second conviction. Now he’s trying to get on his feet, supported by his pregnant girlfriend Leonie (Siobhan Reilly) and his parol officer Harry (John Henshaw). But it isn’t easy to find a job in this economy, especially not when you’ve been to prison, have a scar in your face and no real education. And Leonie’s family is giving Robbie a hard time, too. But then Harry takes Robbie to a Whiskey distillery and Robbie discovers his love for it. And when he finds out about a special Whiskey that is to be sold at a high price at an auction, he figures out a way to make some cash quickly – just enough for a fresh start.

Angels’ Share is a movie that suffers from its own marketing. They try to sell it as a comedy – and it is funny, but only sometimes. Instead it’s more about social criticism. That makes it more interesting, but also a little harder to watch – especially if you expect a laugh-fest.

The-Angels-Share

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Looking for Eric (2009)

Looking for Eric is the newest movie by Ken Loach, starring Steve Evets and Eric Cantona.

Plot:
Eric’s (Steve Evets) life is falling apart: He is close to a mental breakdown, he can hardly do his job as a postman, his two teenage stepsons make his life miserable and he is haunted by the memories of his first love he lost through a mistake of his own doing. Then one night, Eric Cantona (Eric Cantona) appears in his bedroom and starts coaching his life.

Looking for Eric is a sweet and very funny movie. It’s wonderfully written (by Paul Laverty) with a very warm sense of humour. The story is not too original but it doesn’t need to be. It’s thoroughly enjoyable.

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