The other day I watched I, Daniel Blake and thought I would give a review of it, as I personally absolutely loved it and probably be the best movie I will see this year.
First thing is first, make sure you have plenty of tissue as it is very moving.If you want to find out about social issues then this is the film for you. OK, it looks at the absurdity around benefit sanctions. If you don’t comply to what is asked of you from the benefit office then basically they can reduce your benefit rate. Some of the requirements are ridiculous. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) if you are claiming JobSeekers benefit you have to prove that you have actively been looking for work for 35 hours a week. Furthermore, you have hard evidence to prove you have done that, in the movie the lady says suggestions such as getting a receipt? Or get a photo of you actually handing in the CV! Sometimes ‘the system’ is absurd especially as a high percentage of claimants are poor and needy which makes them vulnerable to being exploited. This is evident when watching this film why I would say this.If you don’t have enough points you don’t get qualified for employment support allowance (which is basically the old Income Support) and therefore have to go on Jobseekers Allowance in order to survive. This is exactly what happened to the main character in the film, called Daniel Blake.
He had a heart condition and the doctors explicitly said he cannot work due to his poor health. However, due to the judgements of the so called ‘professionals’ he did not meet the criteria. It is absurd the treatment met and when Daniel had the strength to fight because you need it to appeal he died without seeing the results.
We can only assume that it was likely down the stress and poor health conditions because he was sanctioned for silly rules. Consequently causing him to sell all his items in his home because he had no other income for heating or food. The stress on top are all definitely had an impact on Daniel’s health.
One good thing about the film is the relationship struck up between Daniel and a women called Katie, they met each other at the job centre. She was sanctioned and Daniel was horrified when overhearing the argument between Katie and the employee at the job centre. The reason Katie got sanctioned was she was late for her sign on (few minutes) because she came from London a few days and was lost, therefore getting a reduced amount of benefit. This is really hard for Katie as she has two children to feed, get school uniform etc. She moved away from London to do better for herself because otherwise she would still be living in a shelter. The fact of the matter is if you want to live in London you have to have money. Therefore, most poor people will move out for the area simply because they cannot afford such high rates of living.
One issue that comes up in the film is the way that DWP treat people on benefits like animals and are seen as statistics rather than individuals. Daniel wrote a piece he wanted to share in the appeal but sadly didn’t get the change so Katie read it at his funnel. I feel this pretty much sums up the social injustice around DWP and a brilliant ending to sadly more truthful story over fiction.
‘I am not a client, a customer, nor a service user. I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a beggar nor a thief.
I am not a national insurance number, nor a blip on a screen. I paid my dues, never a penny short, and was proud to do so.
I don’t tug the forelock but look my neighbour in the eye. I don’t accept or seek charity.
My name is Daniel Blake, I am a man, not a dog. As such I demand my rights. I demand you treat me with respect.
I, Daniel Blake, am a citizen, nothing more, nothing less. Thank you.’
Cheers for reading X