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The Angels Share

Updated on July 24, 2014

The Angels Share by Ken Loach

The Angels Share, is the latest film by the British film maker Ken Loach and has been dubbed the Scottish Full Monty. The Angels' Share is a comedy set in Glasgow, Scotland and the plot centres around the Scottish whisky industry.

Set to be another spectacular success for Loach, The Angels' Share has won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Speaking from Cannes to the BBC Radio 4 programme Ken tells us that the film is about a "handful of those young people who face a life with no real place in society".

Like all his best films, this is going to be about gritty reality and Loach goes on to say that "Underneath the humour this is a tragedy we've inflicted on a generation" .

I lived in Scotland, albeit Edinburgh, for six years and so have a special soft spot for this beautiful and culturally rich country, as well as the people in it. I can't wait to see the new film.

The Angels Share was released on Friday 1st June 2012, certificate 15

If you look carefully at the image, you can just see the angel's hand on the right hand side, poised to snaffle it's portion!

This photo was taken in Cognac (yes, where the famous cognac brandy is made - which is just over an hour from our Bed and Breakfast and holiday cottage in Limousin, South West France. For more information see or phone me on +33 (0)5 55 48 29 84

This work by Barbara Walton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Please note that all images, unless otherwise attributed, are the property of Barbara Walton

The Angels Share is a Feel Good Comedy

But one with a political twist

The Angels Share is the latest film by 75 year old Ken Loach and when I first heard about it my ears pricked up! His first major film, 'Kes', was released when I was just a teenager and this powerful film has had a lasting affect on me. I can still see the boy with his kestral on his arm, and it still makes my eyes well up all these many years later.

So what is The Angels' Share about?

The main character is a Glaswegian called Robbie who's obliged to do community service under a supervisor devoted to the Scottish national drink, whisky. Through this link Robbie and his unemployed friends hear about a cask of whisky that's so rare it's worth million's and the plot progresses to an Ealing Comedy like escapade of dark humour.

Have You See The Film Yet? - How do you rate it?

How would you rate The Angel's Share by Ken Loach?

Read The Angels' Share for Yourself - Get that feelgood feeling

Is this really Scotland's answer to The Full Monty?

The Angels' Share
The Angels' Share

The Spirit of the film:

A "bittersweet comedy" set in Glasgow about a boy and new Dad trying to put a bit of space between himself and a family feud and make a better life for his new born son.

Together with friends Robbie meets on community service, Rhino, Albert and Mo and together they turn to drink and changed.. their lives.


The Angels' Share (2012) - The Official Trailer

The film stars Paul Brannigan, a relatively unknown actor, John Henshaw, William Ruane, Gary Maitland, Jasmin Riggins and Siobhan Reilly. Loach has been praised for the skillful way that he melds the famous and experienced actors with the newby, Brannigan.

Stars of The Angels' Share Shine at UK Premiere

Glasgow Monday 29th May

According to Beverley Lyons of the Daily Record the stars, "basked in the spotlight" at the premier in Glasgow. Now, there is a little problem with some of Loach's films, the accents are so true to life it's hard to understand if you're not used to them, (see my experiences of My Name is Joe, below). Clearly this is an issue with The Angels' Share as Paul threatened to walk out of the film premiere if they used subtitles.

He stressed that they are, " are in Glasgow and ... We need to respect who we are." Does he have a point?

When is Angel Shares coming out on dvd? Watch this spot.

A Film For Our Times?

Unemployment in Britain and self-rule for Scotland

The Angels' Share is very much a film for it's time. Set in Scotland post the world wide financial crash, it is a time of unemployment, worry, and loss of hope, more so in Scotland and the north of England than the ever-prosperous south. With his Ealing comedy take on the subject, Ken Loach explores the political and the social issues around dissafected youth and teaches us about the deprivations through humour, sugaring the bitter pill a little so that we'll gulp it down. In the end he creates a feel-good factor around one of the main industries in Scotland, the whisky industry.

The film is also timely in that the first moves towards and Independent Scotland have been made within the last week or so, and the bouyancy of the whisky trade is one of the key weapons in the armoury of the Yes campaign. We'll wait with interest to see if the Scottish people will vote to separate themselves from England.

Chateau Otard Vaults
Chateau Otard Vaults

What is The Angels Share?

Or The Angels Portion

The Angel's share or The Angel's portion, is the part of the liquid that evaporates during the distilling process through the porous wooden barrels. I first heard about it when I visited the brandy producers in Cognac, France, (that's where these images come from), but it also applies to whisky.

The longer the whiskey or cognac ages, the better it becomes, and the more the angels take for themselves, (the little divils!). So it is often said that what the angels take in quantity, they replace with quality.

Perhaps they are angelic after all - if a little tipsy.

Did you know that many of these barrels are made from the oak grown in Limousin, south west France? I live in this lovely, rural part of France and love the miles of oak and sweetchestnut woodlands broken up with wild flower hay meadows.

Who is Paul Brannigan?

An unknown star

Paul Brannigan is an unknown actor plucked from obscurity, liked the star of Kes, to play the lead role in The Angels' Share. Paul is a 25 year old young father who lives with his partner Sheree Coutts, and their three-year-old son Leo.

Brannigan was discovered by Paul Laverty on a visit to the Violence Reduction Unit where he, (Brannigan) coaches football at the Strathclyde force's Violence Reduction Unit.

More Fact into Fiction

Like his character, Robbie, Paul Brannigan has had his share of trouble with a background of parental drug taking, feuding and gang violence including an incident when one of Brannigan's aunts was stabbed which prompted Brannigan and his uncle to seek revenge. As a result, Brannigan, who was just 16 at the time, served a jail sentence.

Since then he saus that he's learnt to He said: "walk away from trouble", and is now concentrating on bringing up his son.

Why Was Paul Brannigan Busted for Drugs?

Just weeks before the film was released?

Brannigan claimed that it was 'jealous locals' who tipped off the police about a huge stash of drugs in his home in Barrowfield, east end of Glasgow.

Well, it turned out to be a storm in a teacup when police did find a little cannabis, but not more than a small fine's worth!

Inside Scotland : The Angel's Share - The Whisky trade in Scotland

Aspects of Scottish culture and politics presented by Charles MacLean.

Who is Ken Loach?

And why Ken Loach's films are so special

Kenneth Loach was born 17 June 1936 and is a film director famed for his naturalistic style and films grounded on his socialist beliefs. One of the first films that brought him to the public notice was a television documentary / drama Cathy Come Home, about homelessness. Like The Angels' Share, Loach's film Riff-Raff explores issues around injustice in employment.

Ken Loach has also made TV documentaries on the same social themes, including 'Questions of Leadership', a documentary series on the response of the British trade union movement to the changes made by the Thatcher government and he did work on the miner's strike, 'Which Side Are You On?' in 1985.

Ken's films are famous for style as well as content. He creates a strong sense of realism often using unknown actors and emphasising the relationships between actors which lead to the illusion that his films are unscripted. Contrary to the feel of his films, Loach maintains that all scenes are carefully scripted, but around this he does allow some improvisation. Loach has formed strong bonds with his scriptwriters. Paul Laverty worked with him in The Angels' Share and on nine fother feature films including The Wind That Shakes The Barley and Sweet Sixteen, and previously Loach worked with Jim Allen (Land & Freedom) and Barry Hines (Kes).

Kes Was the First Film I Saw by Ken Loach - It still brings tears to my eyes

Kes is a startlingly powerful story about a boy and his kestral, Kes. I was just a teenager when it was released, but I can remember it clearly all these many years ago.

Kes (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Kes (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Heartwarming, entertaining, powerful and beautiful. This film broke new ground when it was released and it has lost nothing of its quality since then. A film that tells a story and has stood the test of time.


My Name is Joe - A great film - but just a word of warning.

The Glaswegian accent was so strong that we had to give up and put on French subtitles to understand what was going on!

My Name Is Joe
My Name Is Joe

I'm just watching this film again and enjoying it for the second time. Not quite as hard to understand as I remember. Touching but just as gritty as Kes. There are scenes of the outskirts of Glasgow that seem to come for a Sci Fi movie about after the earth has been blitzed. To think people in Britain have to live like that! Of course, it being a Ken Loach film, we are shown the dark side, but all is made quite fun by the upbeat comedy. People survive.


Should Films be Funded According to Their Commercial Potential?

The British government thinks so!

It's expected that a government review of the film industry will put public funding into the most commercial films. Not surprisingly Ken Loach doesn't agree:

Speaking on the Today programme, Ken says that films are about much more than making money:

"Success can come at all levels. You don't have to be a blockbuster to be successful," he said.

"People don't go into films to be entrepreneurs, they go into - like people who write books or make radio programmes - to be creative, to be original, to have wit."

I do wonder how the government is going to guess which films are going to be the successful ones. Who'd have thought 'Kes' would be such a box office success?

Funding for Films - What Do You Think

Should Only Commercial Films Receive Funding?

See results

Not seen The Full Monty yet? You're in for a treat!

The Full Monty - Is the Angels Share the Scottish version of Full Monty?

Another comedy based on the high unemployment in the lack of hope in the north of Britain. This time a group of guys try to earn their daily bread in the context of post-steel Sheffield. They turn their hand to stripping and we follow them through their trials and tribulations finally culminating in "the full monty". (For the uninitiated, this is the point where the guys go naked - not that they bare all for the cameras, of course.).

The Full Monty - Fully Exposed Edition
The Full Monty - Fully Exposed Edition

PS This is a great, fun film and suitable for most children. You'll all have a good laugh.


Is The Angels' Share the Scottish Full Monty - .... or not?

Which is better? The Angels' Share or The Full Monty?

See results

The Production of Whisky in Scotland - See how whisky is produced in Scotland

This is just for a little background information before you see the film. I thought it would be interesting to learn a bit more about how whisky is made.

The Kindle Version of The Angels' Share - Don't have a Kindle yet?

The Angels' Share
The Angels' Share

Kindle version, by Paul Laverty and Ken Loach (Kindle Edition - May 23, 2012) - Kindle eBook

Buy: $8.93

Auto-delivered wirelessly

Features include: Full screenplay, Production notes from cast and crew, A Lesson in the Appreciation of Malt Whisky by Master of the Quaich, Charles MacLean


Where in the World Are We? - In Limousin, a hidden corner of South West France


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Have You Seen The Angel's Share? - I'd love to hear from you

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    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      6 years ago from France

      @microfarmproject: I'm looking forward to it too! Thanks for dropping by.

    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      6 years ago from France

      @microfarmproject: I'm looking forward to it too! Thanks for dropping by.

    • microfarmproject profile image


      6 years ago

      I can't wait to see this film. It has not yet been released in the U.S. Hopefully, it will be in our theaters soon.

    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      6 years ago from France

      @AnnieMoril: Thank you so much, Annie, for leaving a comment. There was just so much to write about that I'll be adding to it for quite a while, especially after I've seen it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I remember the film Kes and how much I loved it too. Angel's share sounds amazing. I love all the behind the scene facts and especially where the term Angel's share means. lol.


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