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BFI 100: 91 – My Name Is Joe (1998)

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We continue the ill-fated and now resurrected journey of watching each of the British Film Institute’s 100 best films of the 20th Century. Starting at 100 and working my way to Orson Welles’ The Third Man at number 1. This week, the Ken Loach movie, My Name is Joe. I’ll try to keep these short updates relatively spoiler-free and consider them only a small record of moving through this series.

© Channel Four Films

When I originally began this project, My Name is Joe was the first of the films on the list to this point that I had previously watched. It is also the first Ken Loach film in the list, and the first to star one of my favourite actors, Peter Mullan (a man I had the pleasure of making set stills of back in 2009 when he was acting in a short film directed by David McKay, also in this film. They took me for a drink afterwards – absolute gentlemen, the pair of them). It would also make it to a list of my top 10 movies.

Ken Loach, as he is wont to do, crafts a beautiful, stark, bittersweet, and traumatic drama that leaves eyes moist and hearts sore by the end. Mullan is perfect as the Glaswegian ex-alcoholic Joe Kavanagh, and Louise Goodall is a lovely foil as health visitor, Sarah; and as with many films set in Glasgow, the city itself takes on a subtle role as a character in itself. Despite always looking forward to watching this film, the end is a difficult watch but I can’t recommend it highly enough.


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