“I am a citizen, nothing more, nothing less”.
Where to start? You’ve all heard the news surrounding this film. ‘That’s the one about benefits, yeah?’, ‘Really depressing, right?’, ‘Won loads of awards, didn’t it?’
The question is, why should you watch it? Why should you care?
I am not going to sit here and write a piece preaching about the ‘common man’ and the disgusting attitude of the state. Nor am I going to write a tirade about injustice, inequality and society’s lack of empathy – easy as it would be to do so. I am simply going to state that rarely am I moved to tears so easily by a film.
I had to ask the question, “Why?” as I turned round and saw everyone in tears – young, old, well-off, not so well-off, male, female – “why was everyone moved by this film?”
The answer – It is real.
Ken Loach has created a rare thing in cinema – reality. How did he create it? By listening; he listened to real people and he simply told the truth. We cry because we identify with the characters, we cry because we know it is really happening, we cry because we know it is wrong.
So, again, why should you watch this film? You can’t do anything about it, right? You aren’t affected by it, are you? You haven’t got time to deal with someone else’s problems – you have your own, don’t you?
It’s not about helping someone else, noble as that is. It is about helping us all, together as a society, and that includes you. Helping us to be better people, helping us to look after ourselves and each other – if we don’t, no one else will. Helping us, them, you, to have a voice. Helping us to know that we can make a difference, each and every one of us. We do exist, we do count and we will be noticed.
That is why you should watch this; to hear the voice that is crying to be heard, to remind ourselves (if we have forgotten) that we are not monsters or numbers or scroungers or scum – we are not irrelevant – to understand the reality that so many people are facing (if you are lucky enough not to have experienced it first-hand), to connect with those around us.
I can’t sit here and tell you what to think, I don’t want to. I simply ask that you open your eyes. Then, when you truly understand the situation, you are truly capable of forming an opinion about it and (if you so wish) truly capable of doing something about it.