Cannes, Movie Review

Sorry We Missed You (2019) by Ken Loach

Original Name: Sorry We Missed You

Director: Ken Loach

Debut at: May 2019 (100 min)

Country: UK (English)

IMDB Link: https://imdb.com/title/tt8359816/

Watching Sorry We Missed You is like watching the knot slowly tightens itself. Just as to be expected from the veteran director Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty, his characters just do their best to make ends meet, yet everything gradually slips out of their control. Unlike his latest Palme D’or I, Daniel Blake – which is for all the better – this film isn’t a direct attack to the failure of British welfare system. His concern is still the same on the injustice, but Sorry We Missed You offers a different, and for me more complex, shade. While with I, Daniel Blake, the general mood is anger, this one is more of a desperation.

Focus on a working class family where the husband, Ricky (Kris Hitchen) gets a new job as a delivery driver, without a fixed wages in Newcastle. In order to rent his delivery truck (one condition when accept this job), he pursuay his wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood), a contract nurse to sell her car. Things work out at first, although we see in many instances how hard their jobs are and how grim their situations are. To add to that they have two other mouths to feed: a teenager Seb and his younger sister Liza Jane. Things start to come for a worse, when many unexpected circumstances hit them like a strong current: his van gets hijacked, his son gets suspended, he himself gets beefed by his supervisor… all sort of things.

The film benefits from its realistic portrayal of their lives, every line is spoken by someone who actually experience it, the situations get harsher, but still believable that push the couple on edge and finally they lost it. It’s heartbreaking to see their situation gets out of hand despite their utmost trying, as well as when they lose control of themselves by the anxiety to keep up because we all know that it’s not who they are. As the movie progresses, we see both Ricky and Abbie have become a prisoner of this gig economy: it promises to protect them but it doesn’t provide a good opportunity for them. And the stress to keep up starts piling up when things slowly get out of their control. At other times, Sorry We Missed You still provides some heartwarming moments of the family, despite long-hour, still manages to make dinner and enjoy their time together. All this time together builds up for a total breakout later on between Ricky and his son. Not that they hate each other, but they aren’t on the same page.

The performances are solid all around, in which we can see their gestures when they’re on their breaking points. The pacing maintains the flow well, and it says a lot when it delivers its dramatic beat from start to finish. At the age of 84, Ken Loach again proves that he is more relevant and urgent than ever. Sorry I Missed You ends on an Intimate and powerful note. Life still goes on, they still keep working, but somehow the debt and their situation just keep getting worse.

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