Go to Homepage   My Name Is Joe: Scottish Gem

 


My Name Is Joe is one of the year's small gems. Written by Paul Laverty
and directed by Ken Loach (Ladybird, Ladybird), Joe tells the brutal and tender story of Joe Kavanaugh, a recovering alcoholic struggling to maintain his ten months of sobriety. 

Peter Mullan (named best actor at Cannes for this role) portrays Joe as a tough guy with a heart of gold and energy to spare. On the dole, he coaches soccer for a group of Glasgow delinquents he considers family. But his large heart puts him in harm's way and sends him spiraling downward. Before his troubles take hold, he meets and falls in love with no nonsense social worker Sarah (Louise Goodall). Although they come from different worlds, Joe and Sarah are kindred spirits in an utterly believable affair. 

Director Loach, known for his realistic portrayal of the working class, certainly succeeds with My Name Is Joe. You feel the desperation and hopelessness of Scotland's poor and working poor and empathize with the characters' desperate struggle to hold on to what little dignity they have. 

But the movie belongs to Peter Mullan. Part Ed Harris and part Steve McQueen, Mullan's Joe explodes on the screen. Mullan displays an unbelievable range. Warm and funny one moment, angry and sullen the next, his performance serves as a master class in acting.  

Although filmed entirely in Scotland, with an all Scotland cast, viewers need not fear the Scottish accent barrier. My Name Is Joe comes with subtitles, not in the least distracting and ever so helpful.

Joan Fuchsman

 

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