The Old Oak

New York Times Critics' Pick
113 mins.
Directed by Ken Loach
NR
2024
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Wed, 5/29
Thu, 5/30

The Old Oak is a special place. Not only is it the last pub standing, it is the only remaining public space where people can meet in a once thriving mining community that has now fallen on hard times after 30 years of decline.

TJ Ballantyne (Dave Turner) the landlord hangs on to The Old Oak by his fingertips, and his hold is endangered even more when the pub becomes contested territory after the arrival of Syrian refugees who are placed in the village. An unlikely friendship develops when TJ encounters a young Syrian with a camera, Yara (Ebla Mari). Can they find a way for the two communities to understand each other?

So unfolds a deeply moving drama about loss, fear and the difficulty of finding hope.

THE OLD OAK is the final film from retiring director Ken Loach, whose long career includes KES (1969), THE WIND THE SHAKES THE BARLEY (2006), I, DANIEL BLAKE (2016), and many more.


“You’d know THE OLD OAK was directed by Ken Loach even if his name wasn’t in the credits. His 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 place of magical thinking and a happy ending, THE OLD OAK serves up something harder: a meditation on hope.” Alissa Wilkinson. A New York Times Critic's Pick!