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My Name Is Joe [DVD]
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Another hard-hitting drama from Ken Loach. Recovering alcoholic Joe Kavanagh (Peter Mullan) is out of work, but spends his time coaching the local football team. When he goes to pick up team member Liam (David McKay), he meets social worker Sarah Downie (Louise Goodall). Although they clash at first, the pair are soon involved in a relationship. Joe learns from Sarah that Liam and his wife, Sabine (Annemarie Kennedy), owe money to local gangster McGowan (David Hayman). In an attempt to help Liam pay off his debt, Joe agrees to do three drugs runs for McGowan. However, his relationship with Sarah suffers when she finds out what he has done.
Can we talk? Everybody is pretty well agreed that Great Britain's Ken Loach is one of our most important filmmakers. On the basis of his work with actors alone--often actors who are unknown until showcased in his films--he commands a place in the modern Pantheon. The problem is that he sounds terminally "worthy"; his films invariably reflect a commitment to framing harsh sociopolitical realities and steeping us in the fight for justice, a square deal or a square meal. They sound, in short, as if they're "good for you"--whereas the fact is that they are almost always damned good, period.
My Name Is Joe makes for an excellent introduction to Loach country--partly because it's just a tad more immediate in its basic viewer appeal. Joe Kavanagh (Peter Mullan), out-of-work Glasgow housepainter, is a terrifically attractive fellow, and though he is also a recovering alcoholic, he seems eminently pulled-together and ready for yeoman service as a movie leading man. The main story line concerns his encounter with and growing attraction to a smart social worker (Louise Goodall). There is nothing star-crossed about their potential love, but each is tough enough to set limits till they've travelled over a distance of mutual ground. Meanwhile, Joe's status as role model among his more emotionally and economically precarious neighbours--an extended family of man--is good for a surprising number of lusty laughs and one fatal, criminal complication that could jeopardise his future. Peter Mullan won a well-deserved Best Actor award at Cannes in 1998, and subsequently directed a family comedy-drama of his own, Orphans. --Richard T. Jameson, Amazon.comSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Life, common people, feelings.
A must...at least for me.
This Glasgow-set story concerns Joe's blossoming relationship with a good-natured social worker named Sarah. The initial harmony of this relationship is soon put under pressure due to Joe's feelings of responsibility for his friend Liam. Liam, you see, has a history of heroin abuse and as a consequence a gang of drug dealing thugs are constantly darkening his door. When Joe learns that Liam is in debt (to the tune of thousands of pounds), his benevolent nature comes to the fore and Joe feels that he has no option but to help his friend. As a result, his relationship with Sarah is threatened and Joe ultimately feels the lure of booze returning to throttle him. The film's climax does not make for easy viewing...
"My Name Is Joe" is one of Ken Loach's most revered movies, and it's easy to see why. Loach is a director who always strives for realism, and it must be said that movies don't come much more "warts 'n' all" than this one. In fact, this movie is frequently so realistic it's actually painful to watch. There is a twitchy heroin-shooting scene that could accurately be described as stomach-churning. There is also a graphic suicide scene which is, frankly, almost UNBEARABLE to watch. Is this movie light-hearted fun for all the family? Erm...no.
That said, there are still moments of humour in this movie to cut through the darkness (mainly involving Joe's hapless football team of delinquents). Be warned, however, that this is far from being a comedy and could leave many viewers feeling emotionally drained. Is it a film to fall in love with? NO. Is it a film to be admired? MOST DEFINITELY. The lack of mindless escapism here is definitely to be applauded.
In conclusion:- If you are after a little bit of light Saturday night entertainment, AVOID this film. If, however, you are seeking a thought-provoking story that is humanistic and features believable characters, then prepare to be rewarded.
I am a Ken Loach fan as I liked all the old plays for today in the sixties which were slices of life. This film is certainly that as we follow Joe who is a recovering alcoholic.
There are some funny incidents as when the football club of unemployed turn up in filthy West German football kits. They have to change them as the opposition want to be Germany.
Franz Beckenbauer a fat bold player objects by saying But I have always been Beckenbauer
The referee says if you are Franz Beckenbauer I am the tooth fairy.
After more objections he says
Well Franz you are going to have to change your strip. They do by going topless.
The language is raw but so are the living conditions.
Joe meets and fancies a health worker Sarah. In a very moving section she asks why he gave up drinking. he said he didn't want to tell her as she might hate him.
He ended up beating up his girlfriend and later claiming that he had been drunk but he hadn't. as a result he gave up drink.
He is now on the straight and narrow but he decided to help Liam who owes money to gangsters. Joe decides to help by doing a drug run.
Sarah finds out which breaks their relationship. Things go from bad to worse with fatal consequences for Liam.
The ending is sad but you have a glimmer of hope that they will find each other.
A gritty realistic film which shows people who are in the mire and that they can't necessarily get out of it.
It is filmed like a documentary and you could easily believe that these people are not actors. A good film but some might not like its grim realism.
This film is set in Scotland (council estates obviously, this IS a Ken Loach film!) and tells the story of a recovering alcoholic, Joe.
I'd love to discuss some of the plot but I think I might give things away. This is a very personal journey and it would be unfair of me to spoil it.
All I'll say is that Joe has had a dodgy past but finally finds his life in a stable condition. He is a sober, moral man who becomes involved in a situation which compromises his ethics - but feels he has no choice.
This is perfectly acted, and feels so real that I was desperate to know the fate of the characters. Once the film finishes, those characters *still* seem real and maybe thats because to a large extent, they are.
Loach manages yet again to capture the essence of real humanity, this doesn't feel rehearsed, this doesn't feel scripted (and much of it probably isn't), it doesn't even feel acted - this is a real corner of humanity.
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I really enjoyed this film. It was very gritty and real to life, but also a wonderful love story that was totally believable.Read more