I, DANIEL BLAKE tells the story of a London man who must navigate the economic, political and social ramifications of becoming ill. Though the film’s title proclaims the story is a portrait about a single man, its reach is broader.
Director Ken Loach spoke to Empire about his issue-driven film: “[Truth] matters whatever you do, in all different types of films — science fiction, space, whatever. You want to have some connection to some reality somewhere. I challenge the idea that films about rich people are escapism and films about working class people are dour and sad. I find the opposite’s the case. You meet real rich people and come away thinking: it’s such a depressing company to be with. They didn’t seem to have a sense of humor — or if they did, it’s disconnected to common experience. They lead lives of isolation and lack of connection. I feel much more depressed than if you go to a place of work, where people are just knocking around being funny and connected. I don’t think films about working class people are sad at all; I think they’re funny and lively and invigorating and warm and generous and full of good things. Terrible things happen, but as an overall environment it doesn’t make you miserable. You might get angry, you might feel sad, you might feel angry on people’s behalf, but I don’t feel demoralized.”