Skip to Content



Ken Loach’s


$11.00 Member$17.00 RegularBecome a Member


The 28th feature directed by master of social realism Ken Loach, THE OLD OAK follows a once-vibrant mining town’s response to the arrival of a group of Syrian refugees. TJ, the amiable proprietor of the titular pub — the last meeting point left in town — struggles to keep his more narrow-minded local clientele as he befriends these new residents, in particular a Syrian photographer, Yara. Loach once again gives compassionate voice to the oppressed — both the Syrian migrants and the out-of-work locals — in this, the concluding chapter of his Northeast England trilogy (following I, DANIEL BLAKE and SORRY WE MISSED YOU) and his self-proclaimed final film.

N.B. Film Forum will present a 20+-film Ken Loach retrospective beginning April 19.



CRITIC’S PICK. “MOVING. [Loach’s] late work is unmistakable, driven by fierce moral clarity and outrage on behalf of the people whom capitalism and Britain’s government, supposedly constructed for citizens’ benefit, have left behind… In THE OLD OAK, [Loach’s style] works brilliantly; at moments, I caught myself thinking I was watching a documentary… What THE OLD OAK understands and what so many similar films miss [is that] charity sets up an inherent power differential… a much stronger and more lasting force is solidarity…In place of magical thinking and a happy ending, THE OLD OAK serves up something harder: a meditation on hope.”
– Alissa Wilkinson, The New York Times

“QUIETLY POWERFUL. As engrossing, thoughtful, heartfelt, angry, hopeful, and altogether valuable as his best work. If it is indeed Loach’s farewell, it’s one hell of a fine note to go out on.”
– Matt Zoller Seitz,

“SPARE AND MOVING. The film has a graceful simplicity. Its cast of nonprofessionals (some of them refugees themselves) perform with little adornment or unnecessary emoting… With THE OLD OAK, Ken Loach goes out with one last, full-throated call for brotherhood and solidarity. It’s the most hopeful the old soldier’s been in years.” 
– Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

“MAKES FOR QUITE THE CHERRY ON TOP OF A SPLENDID BODY OF WORK. In a career that spans over half a century, the indefatigable Ken Loach has cemented his reputation as the foremost filmmaker of the British working class. At 87, he’s out of neither steam nor ideas even as he signals that his latest, THE OLD OAK, might be his final film. This sympathetic and socially attuned portrayal of the proletariat set in a dying village in northeast England is part three in an informal trilogy with 2016’s I, DANIEL BLAKE and 2020’s SORRY WE MISSED YOU. While those films focused on post-austerity holes in the social safety net and the precariousness of the gig economy, respectively, the contemporary issue under Loach’s microscope in THE OLD OAK is the country’s absorption of migrants... Loach’s THE OLD OAK functions much like the establishment that TJ owns: a defiantly optimistic space designed to fortify the connections between all those who share in the struggle against oppression"
– Marshall Shaffer, Slant

“At the grand age of 87, the two-time Palme d’Or winner [Ken Loach] is leaving us with one last film, and it’s a striking and deeply Loach-esque way to conclude a legendary career…Loach is a cinematic powerhouse, one whose legacy is vast and near-impossible to summarize. He’s also the last of a dying breed. There will never be another Ken Loach, and not just because his talent is so tough to replicate.”
– Kayleigh Donaldson, Paste

“Earnest, heartfelt, and touching — a sort of proudly unsexy piece of social realism portraiture whose delicate blend of poignancy and hopefulness mark it as a welcomely mature work…While anger is present in Loach’s work, his is the opposite of reactionary filmmaking, designed to inflame; it’s openhearted and humanistic, but generally leavened with calm. It’s one of the reasons that FAMILY LIFE, RIFF-RAFF and I, DANIEL BLAKE — movies spanning 45 years in his estimable filmography — can play as credible time capsules of their respective time periods and also connect with new audiences as character studies…Loach’s one superpower, undimmed by 87-plus years on this planet, lies in an unshakable belief that, no matter their circumstances, each and every person still has the capacity to listen and grow and yield to the better angels of our nature.”
– Brent Simon, A/V Club

“A film as fired up and human as any you’ll see this year.”
– Phil de Semlyen, Time Out


Film Forum