Starring: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone
Sorry We Missed You premiered at the 2019 Festival de Cannes.
Ken Loach understands precarity as an ongoing symptom of existence. It’s not so much a heightened threat as it is a dull weight, burdening everyday contentment. Sorry We Missed You adds another chapter to the director’s canon of sober tragedies, with an unambiguous and affecting look at a family walking the tightrope of a resolutely unstable gig economy.
Ricky Turner and his wife Abby live from job to job, working their hardest to support their two children, Seb and Liza Jane. Whatever happened to the eight-hour day, they wonder. The Turners are played with humble gravitas by a quartet of non-actors – a trademark casting preference for Loach. As Ricky, Kris Hitchen pierces through grim mundanity with heartbreaking conviction, as professional and personal struggles to save face begin to overflow.
There’s no fairytale way out, but Loach has the decency to afford his characters base-level compassion. Ricky has picked up shifts as a delivery driver, while Abby works as a carer for ailing senior citizens. They fall asleep in front of the TV, wondering how their hopeful life together has led them here. The crushing sadness finds a way to feel relatable, in the accumulation of pressures that never take a day off – a family’s love is strong, but the impending danger of growing debt is stronger.
Sorry We Missed You gives a platform to a remarkably average scenario, but fleshes out the details with a strain that demands to be felt. This angry injustice occasionally tips over into histrionic waters, in moments where Loach’s prerogative is squeezed a bit too vigorously by actors lacking subtlety.
But the Turners’ plight is one of mistakes, selfishness and burnout, which does allow for imperfect performances. No one is wicked or malicious, and each family member is given flashes of humour within their hardships – Abby’s uncontrollable swearing spree hits a particularly strong note. The film avoids overly exploitative waterworks, as the narrative just continues more than it climaxes.
Harrowing unfairness rings true and remains, long after we may have moved on to something to numb the anxiety. In its unpretentious accuracy, Loach’s latest stirs and signposts the gloomy day-to-day of a culture that’s all too familiar – but to achieve its active potential, it must be seen by the right eyes so the film may galvanise, even more than it asks to merely sympathise.
|What||Sorry We Missed You review|
02 Nov 19 – 02 Nov 20, TIMES VARY
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
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