Ken Loach is one of the few world-class directors courageous enough to put on the screen the lives of poor people whose choices are constricted by their economic plight. Joe (Peter Mullan) is a bachelor and recovering alcoholic who lives in an impoverished neighborhood in Glasgow, Scotland. Although unemployed and on the dole, he oversees a scrappy soccer team that has become for him an extended family. Knowing the nightmare of addiction, Joe has taken Liam (David McKay), an ex-junkie, under his wing. His wife Sabine (Anne-Marie Kennedy) is still hooked on drugs and has run up a big debt to McGowan (David Hayman), a merciless dealer and gang lord.
Most of the film deals with Joe's yearning for a new life and his blooming love affair with Sarah (Louise Goodall), a middle-class community health worker. It is rewarding to watch these two wounded souls try to overcome past hurts and feelings of self-disgust. Despite their magic moments of sharing and intimacy, a thorny ethical dilemma puts a large hurdle in the way of their relationship. My Name Is Joe vividly portrays the invisible class barriers and ways of seeing the world that can hobble the future of hopeful lovers.