The Spirit of '45 (2013)
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This documentary traces how British society evolved during the post-war Labour party years of 1945-51, during which time a fairer society was forged for the working class.
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Critic Reviews for The Spirit of '45
The film works all at once as a lament, a celebration and a wake-up call to modern politicians and voters.
A fond postcard from Ken Loach from the era when British socialism with a democratic spirit gripped the nation in a post-war embrace. His sense of cinema serves him well and he knows how to elicit emotions with the various tools at his disposal
Loach's argument is often convincing, but it's also one-sided enough that his left-wing message feels as black and white as the film's monochromatic colour scheme.
The veteran director Ken Loach hoists the red flag with The Spirit of '45, a polemical documentary filled with hope and heroism, which takes a look at the resurrection of Britain after the war.
A thin, misleading and sentimental account of history, and how we got from there to here.
Using eloquent archive footage and contemporary interviews not exactly representative of the other side of the argument, Loach hammers his points home one by one.
The equivalent of your grandad lecturing you about how things aren't like they used to be.
This film reminds us that admiring the health service has become a distinctively patriotic virtue.
The film ends up as a tale told by an ideologue, full of sound and fury, of question-begging certitudes and the siege engines of self-righteousness.
Demanding balance from a Ken Loach film is a little like wanting a goat to do a handstand.
The Spirit of '45 is an important piece of cinema to go and see, and one that truly represents the essence of Britain.
The unspoken, underlying truth beneath Loach's tenor is that every government has successes and failures, while all enduring issues of fairness surely ought to be seen as non-political.
This is at its strongest when celebrating the simple fairness and basic decency of the welfare state and ends on an optimistic note.
This is undeniably an admirable film but it would have benefited from a little more of the titular spirit.
Often fascinating and impassioned, Loach's doc lapses into polemic towards the end, an understandable side-effect of his granite-strong convictions.
It serves as a moving reminder of how, following the sacrifices of WWII, the British people collectively established a fairer society.
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