My Name Is Joe (Mein Name ist Joe) (1999)



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Movie Info

Actor Peter Mullan won the 1998 Cannes Film Festival "Best Actor" award with this film, directed by Ken Loach (Carla's Song, Ladybird, Ladybird). The drama is set in Possilpark, one of Glasgow's poorest neighborhoods, a rough section where half the population is out of work. Unemployed reformed alcoholic Joe Kavanagh (Mullan) does odd jobs and manages a stumbling soccer team. One of the players is Liam (David McKay), in debt to hood McGowan (David Hayman). Liam and junkie Sabine (Annemarie Kennedy) are raising a small son. After Joe meets social worker Sarah (Louise Goodall), he and his pal Shanks show up to help in the wallpapering of Sarah's apartment. This job creates a problem for Joe with the local unemployment office, until Sarah steps in to cover. It's the beginning of a romance, and Joe and Sarah make an effort to help Liam and Sarah when they are threatened by the loan sharks. Mullan commented, "The drug problem in that place is so serious that people are passive. They are corralled in a sort of dog-eat-dog environment where humans meet to laugh and thrive but have no hope of getting out." Scripted by former lawyer Paul Laverty, the film is inspired by the first half of Loach's Carla's Song. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi
R (for pervasive language and some violence, sexuality and drug use)
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Artisan Pictures

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Peter Mullan
as Joe Kavanagh
Louise Goodall
as Sarah Downie
David Hayman
as McGowan
Gary Lewis
as Shanks
Scott Hannah
as Scott (as a baby)
David Peacock
as Hooligan
James McHendry
as Perfume
Paul Clark
as Zulu
Paul Doonan
as Tattie
Cary Carbin
as Sepp Maier
Brian Timoney
as Scooter
David Hough
as Referee
Sandy West
as DSS Investigator
John Comerford
as DSS Supervisor
Elaine M. Ellis
as 2nd Receptionist
Stewart Ennis
as Doctor Boyle
Andy Townsley
as Husband
Bill Murdoch
as Postman
Kate Black
as Kiosk Attendant
Rab Affleck
as Lorry Driver
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Critic Reviews for My Name Is Joe (Mein Name ist Joe)

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (6)

Loach in fine form, at the peak of his craft. Proletarian realism does not get better than this.

Full Review… | January 26, 2014

Another great achievement from England's Ken Loach.

Full Review… | May 25, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

Ken Loach at his best.

November 21, 2005

powerful and intensely moving

November 7, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

Portrays the invisible class barriers and ways of seeing the world that can hobble the future of hopeful lovers.

Full Review… | March 3, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

It was a good idea having subtitles, because the heavy Scottish accents are very difficult to understand.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for My Name Is Joe (Mein Name ist Joe)

Between a 7/10 and 8/10, Loach's keen eye for unpolished reality and Mullan's passionate, well-modulated turn keep the film well worth watching.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

My Name Is Joe (Ken Loach, 1998) [originally posted 17Jan2000] I expected this to be good. I was still surprised by how good it was. However, it's bleak, bleak, bleak. It's a black comedy in the same vein Delicatessen is a black comedy-- you'll laugh, but don't rent this on the same day you buy a new package of razor blades. Plot: Joe (Session 9's Peter Mullan) is unemployed and attempting to stay sober after years of, well, not doing so. Things seem to be taking a turn for the better when he starts up a romantic relationship with Sarah (Aberdeen's Louise Goodall), but the call of the bottle is always just behind him, and it's made worse both by Sarah's career (she's a nurse) and her idealism (she has a thing for helping the downtrodden, which means "associating with addicts a lot", and hey, why is she in this relationship in the first place, right?). Not that their surroundings aren't the kind of thing that drives a person to the bottle anyway; the film's setting is the slums of Glasgow, where there are a thousand Joes behind the windows in every city block, just waiting for that one small thing that's going to set them off... The acting is some of the best deadpan I've seen in years, and it works-- the parallel between Sabine (One Life Stand's Anne-Marie Kennedy), the junkie, and life in a dead Scottish town is a little too in-the-face at times, but it's still handled with sharp-tongued wit throughout. The camerawork is somewhat uninspiring, but we should be used to that in things coming out of the British Isles these days. Besides, it doesn't have to be good. The characters carry this one. But prepare to be depressed, and you'll want to keep away from sharp objects during the last ten minutes. ****

Robert Beveridge
Robert Beveridge

Not bad. Not bad. A bit of a dip for Loach but there is enough to sustain your interest here.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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