I, Daniel Blake


D: Ken Loach

eOne/Sixteen/Why Not/Wild Bunch (Rebecca O'Brien)

UK/France/Germany/Belgium 2016

100 mins


W: Paul Laverty

DP: Robbie Ryan

Ed: Jonathan Morris

Mus: George Fenton

Dave Johns (Daniel Blake), Hayley Squires (Katie Morgan), Briana Shann (Daisy Morgan), Dylan McKiernan (Dylan Morgan)

Director Ken Loach came out of retirement as he had something serious to say about the British welfare system and the finish result was appreciated heavily at Cannes film festival, receiving a rapturous standing ovation.

The film, pieced together from several real-life stories while writer Paul Liberty was researching, follows Daniel Blake, a carpenter from Newcastle-upon-Tyne who had recently been a victim of a heart attack only to become a victim of bureaucratic changes to the department of work & pensions. 

He strikes up a friendship with Katie, a single mother relocated from London where the housing services are seriously depleted.

The film does have a message to convey about people not quite getting the help they need, though it does get a little preachy in blaming the current government at the time of filming, completely ignoring that some of the wheels were put in motion by the previous leadership. 

Politics aside, it's an important film which addresses the common misconception, especially from the opinion of the upper classes, that all those on benefits are no-hopers, beggars and moochers, which is far from the truth.

In the case of Daniel Blake, he's a proud, dignified gentleman whose paid into the system his whole life only to be betrayed when the safety net wasn't there to catch him, whereas Katie's dilemma can only be blamed on a lack of social housing.

One thing is for certain, it's a bleak dramatic film which is not created for enjoyment, but far more for raising awareness.


I, Daniel Blake
I, Daniel Blake