When I, Daniel Blake came out, it created a political squall. I would expect it pleased those involved, given that the intention of the film was to draw attention to the hellish reality benefits claimants can find themselves trying to navigate.
Ken Loach’s Palme D’Or winning picture – currently available on Disney+ – did exactly that. It is back in the news today thanks to the stage adaptation created by its star Dave Johns. The cost of living crisis that is drowning too many Britons makes it very timely, and it has been updated to reflect that.
The film, a commercial success despite its tough subject matter, depicts the struggles of Blake, a 59-year-old joiner who finds himself ensnared in the benefits system after a heart attack leaves him too sick to work. He forms an unlikely friendship with Katie Morgan (Hayley Squires), a single mother who, having been relocated to the northeast as a result of Britain’s housing crisis, finds herself sanctioned at a JobCentre Plus. The two attempt to prop each other up amid their deepening crises.