My Name Is Joe [VHS]
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're 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's 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's nothing star-crossed about their potential love, but each is tough enough to set limits till they've traveled over a distance of mutual ground. Meanwhile, Joe's status as role model among his more emotionally and economically precarious neighbors--an extended family of man--is good for a surprising number of lusty laughs and one fatal, criminal complication that could jeopardize 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
Top customer reviews
This is a must-see movie, even if you have to switch to subtitles (I did'nae...): the drug scene, alcoholism, and mayhem are more or less the same, wherever you live, and the human tragedy, the desperation in having to live in a jungle, are the same, all over the world. Outstanding performances by all the actors, even if the background soundtrack was a bit too much in the foreground, sometimes.
An Oscar for Peter Mullan!!!
Peter Mullan delivers a most riveting performance as Joe Kavanagh, a man ten months sober in AA, struggling in the welfare district of Glasgow, Scotland to survive and turn his life around. He coaches a welfare soccer team, goes to his 12-step meetings and does painting jobs on the sly in order to make ends meet. Life really takes a turn for the best when he meets social worker Sarah Downie (Louise Goodall).Their relationship is sweet and quite charming. How nice it would have been if the McGowen Boys did not rule the town and the drug trade.Joe is forced to make decisions that threaten his sobriety and his relationship with Sarah as he tries to protect his best friends from falling deeper into the world of addiction.No small wonder that Mullan took home the best actor award at Cannes in 1999 for this role. This is acting at it's most primal!
Director Ken Loach always takes on the grim realities of life in his films, and MY NAME IS JOE is not for the faint at heart.Loach exposes Scotland in it's poverty, crime and underworld drug trade through the eyes of a man who is in much need of his own recovery. Loach examines the difficulties that confront those trying to heal from substance abuse in a place where temptation and thugs exist around every corner to thwart the addict's recovery.Loach has one very interesting scene where tourists are seen taking their pictures with a bagpiper who " only knows three songs." Joe remarks "Ah, good ol' Bonnie Scotland!" showing the stark contrast in which outsiders see Scotland as opposed to the problems that it really has.
This film is RAW and has extremely coarse language throughout.There is a lot of explosive emotion.This film, though ,is not without it's very tender side. Definitely adult content, MY NAME IS JOE is excellent for understanding the ups and downs of addiction and highlights absolutely some of the finest acting that you will ever see. In English, with subtitles provided in order to maneuver the thick Scottish accents!
A good companion film would be CLEAN AND SOBER , 28 DAYS (Sandra Bullock Version), and MARIA FULL OF GRACE.
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Peter Mullan delivers a most riveting performance as Joe Kavanagh, a man ten months sober...Read more
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