Thoughts on “I, Daniel Blake”

by weslar


Ken Loach impressively shunts the stigma of benefits, albeit from the truthful perspective of the titular character Daniel Blake (Dave Johns). The film presents you with an incredibly realistic look into Daniel’s life and the scrutiny of having had a heart attack hinder your benefit payments, in an economy that doesn’t value a person by who they are but what level they score at, what points they accumulate.

I, Daniel Blake is one of those films where the message is very clear throughout, that message relies heavily on the interactions. The lack of help, by JobCentrePlus employees who couldn’t care the situation, who would easily refer anyone to the internet to relieve their duty, a state of affairs disgusting to realise. The social injustice to those who are incapable of work because of disability, or lack of positions available highlights the necessity for change and a better understanding of the system as a whole.

There are multiple staples in this craft book of turmoil that is Daniel’s life, his deceased wife shows his vulnerability, a young mother Katie (Hayley Squires) and her two children in the same situation show his courage and sheer selflessness, through his commitment to help a fellow human being with her troubles show the heartbreaking side of humanity that is forever shoved aside. The governments implementations, the rules and regulations are barriers that Daniel can not break through, a man who’s never touched a computer, or the World Wide Web is in trouble. Without any guidance it highlights a genuine problem that society has been dealt, the lack of care and attention destroys any sense of worth if Daniel can’t grow accustom to the “way the world is now”.

The story runs the mill of trial and tribulations, with most of the effect lingering on Daniel as he finds himself in worse standings with financial stability than ever before. Keen to show in intricate detail the attention to the minute details that break down a person is taken care of with intimacy and thought.

For full effect and a clear sense of the system is to have gone through it, I, myself have not. But there’s no lack of empathy, for Daniel he’s an honest man, with an honest appeal and it’s people like him that have the least chance of success in a system so broken. I, Daniel Blake divulges into it in intimate detail that doesn’t show it in epidemic, overblown proportions, it’s kept grounded in reality, and to create the mundane reality of a life being pushed aside is the most powerful approach they could have done, and succeeded with.