The play broached issues that were not then widely discussed in the popular media, such as homelessness, unemployment, and the rights of mothers to keep their own children. It was watched by 12 million people — a quarter of the British population at the time — on its first broadcast. Its hard-hitting subject matter and highly realistic documentary style, new to British television, created a huge impact on its audience.
BFI Screen Online says, "If anything, its reputation has grown in the years since it first appeared - in September 2000, Cathy Come Home came in second place in the Britsh Film Institute's TV 100 poll of industry figures". Empire Online calls it "Filmmaking at its most socially conscious, with assured and passionate direction from a young Loach." The Guardian notes:
What makes watching Cathy Come Home this September an especially devastating experience is the painful recognition of how little has changed. So many of the words spoken then could have been articulated yesterday, so many of the scenes feel utterly contemporary. The developers who profiteer while those on lower incomes can't find affordable accommodation, the intractable and labyrinthine bureaucracy of the welfare state, blaming immigrants for the lack of social housing, blaming the unemployed for their own worklessness, even the violent prejudice directed at a Gypsy encampment, are all ongoing. As the cuts bite and the recession threatens to double-dip, there can be minimal expectation that this will do anything other than worsen. Will we ever learn?Rotten Tomatoes doesn't have a critics score, but the audience score is 84%.
HT: Wonders In the Dark