Joe is an unemployed, recovering alcoholic with a criminal past. He coaches Scotland’s least successful football team and supplements his welfare check with odd jobs. One of these is hanging wallpaper in Sarah’s apartment. She is a community health worker, and the case nurse for the drug addict wife of Joe’s friend, football-mad Liam, and their child. Joe and Sarah become an unlikely couple. But their relationship almost breaks down when Liam’s family is threatened by a drug dealer and Joe agrees to protect them by taking on a job transporting drugs … My Name is Joe was Ken Loach’s first foray outside the classic working-class world. In this sub-proletarian milieu, the director discovers that the ‘old’ virtues of love, sacrifice, and solidarity as means to combat the miseries of life in poverty. Screenwriter Paul Laverty spent months doing research in Ruchill, then one of Glasgow’s toughest neighborhoods. The result was a script peopled by naturalistic figures and, under Loach’s cogent direction, the actors turned them into honest, human characters – first and foremost Peter Mullan in the title role, for which he won the Best Actor award at Cannes.
by Ken Loach
with Peter Mullan, Louise Goodall, David McKay
United Kingdom / Germany / Spain 1998