Daniel Blake has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the State. He crosses paths with a single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie’s only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn’t know, some 300 miles away. Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man’s land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ in modern day Britain.
December 30th, 2016 (Wide), released as Ben, Daniel Blake
It’s not a particularly good week on the home market with no one film that is a must have dominating the rest of the pack. However, this is actually a good thing, as there are several smaller releases that get a chance to shine and there are several Pick of the Week contenders as a result. This includes the biggest release of the week, Blade Runner 2049, as well as a limited release, Loving Vincent, and a forgotten film, Matinee. In the end, I went with I, Daniel Blake: The Criterion Collection as the best of the week.
It is not a particularly busy week as far as limited releases are concerned. However, there are a few that have a shot at earning some mainstream success: Beatriz at Dinner, I, Daniel Blake, and My Cousin Rachel. There’s a chance none of them will do well this weekend, but hopefully they can all find an audience.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the first weekend of January is a slow week for limited releases. It’s too late to qualify for this year’s Awards Season and the competition for late entries into the Oscar race is intense. I, Daniel Blake is the best of a limited field and is certainly worth checking out, while Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America is also worth it, if you like documentaries.
There are a number of limited releases coming out this week spread from Wednesday through Sunday. This includes several that are aiming for Awards Season glory: 20th Century Women, Hidden Figures, Silence, and others. There might be too many great films on this week's list, which means some will not live up to their box office potential.
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