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This tale of working class characters caught in a down­ward spiral of their own and society's weaknesses could be considered amongst Ken Loach's best work. As befits his reputation, this is a no holds barred examination of the daily tribulations of marginal personalities. Loach's leading man, Peter Mullan, took home the Best Actor award at Cannes 1998; My Name is Joe was also nominated for the Palme d'Or.

Joe Kavanagh is an alcoholic who we first see addressing an AA meeting after 10 monfhs off the sauce. Without steady employment, Joe gets by doing odd jobs and trying to run a chaotic, no-hopers soccer team. Sarah is a community health worker who offers Joe work wallpapering her flat, a cash job which puts him in trouble with the dole office. When Sarah uses her influence to smooth things over, a cautious romance develops.

Full of emotional grace and warm, humourous observations. Loach's film immediately draws Ihe viewer in. The clarity of his message, a reality for Britain's thou­sands (millions?) on unemployment cuts to the bone. Joe's drinking past, his misguided efforts to help his soccer pals and Sarah's pregnancy conspire to draw him once again into misery and oblivion. A Festival highlight, brought to life with exceptional performances—a challenging and powerful film.