"Poor Cow" is my favourite Ken Loach film. In fact, it is my favourite film of all time. I only discovered it 2 years ago and it has a very personal connection for me. I have since read the novel that inspired it and can state that it is a very honest and faithful dramatisation of Nell Dunn's text. It is a film about a side of London life to which many will be oblivious, and, of course, many will not.
Carol White is superb as Joy, whose first name is not as ironic as it may seem. Her life may well be a vortex of poverty, squalor and unhappiness, but White (through her acting) and Loach (through his direction) portray the character with compassion and strength as someone who is sassy and fun. This same compassion shows through in all the other characters too. There are quite a few bright moments that shine through. The scenes of Joy with her little son, Johnny, are particularly touching and very, very well-done. The location filming around Wales is visually stunning, as indeed is the opening sequence! (I will say no more about this!)
Terence Stamp is also amazing in this film, as are all of the supporting cast. Watch out for John Bindon who somehow steals the show with his brilliant-but-awful acting in his début performance as Tom Steadman!
The theme song, specially adapted and performed by Donovan, is haunting and in a way, ironic, for John Bindon's life ended early at the age of 50, as, for that matter, did Carol White's.
This film is a real rough diamond and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I am grateful to Ken Loach for having the guts and tenacity to bring to this film to life. Poor Cow documents the lives of the underdogs and is an important and interesting piece of cinema that will always have a special place in my heart.