Certain parts of the UK have been tough for people to remain employed or even to get a job in the first place. Director Ken Loach (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Hidden Agenda) has built his career upon working in the UK and making films featuring the lives of the working class. Sorry We Missed You is another one to add to the list.
While Abbie (Debbie Honeywood – Responsible Child) has managed to find a job taking care of aged or mobility impaired people at their homes, her husband Ricky (Kris Hitchen – The Navigators) has not been so lucky. He has spend most of his life moving from one job to the next. They and their two kids, Liza Jae (Katie Proctor – first film) and Seb (Rhys Stone – first film), live in Newcastle. The parents have always been hard workers, but cannot seem to get that to translate into financial security. They have always had to rent a flat rather than own. Ricky comes home one day telling Abbie that he has found a way to make enough money for a down payment on a place of their own.
He is offered by a company to become a delivery driver. But not really working for them but himself. In order to buy the van he needs, Ricky convinces Abbie to sell her car, so she now has to get from client to client by bus. While he does work hard things still do not go Ricky’s way and soon his new job begins to pull the entire family apart.
While the acting here is not of the “glossy” or refined variety it does ooze realism. As such, at times, it almost feels like a documentary. Relatable and tragic. You feel the tragedy when it happens. It is almost like you get smacked in the face when that occurs.
Really makes you hate capitalism. It is revealed to be a system which does not support/reward those who help themselves. Ricky and Abbie are honest people who work hard and still find themselves not able to get ahead in life. The working class are always trod on by those making the real bucks. Back breaking work is demanded of them with little to no security or financial reward. As such they end up exhausted, frustrated and feeling worthless. Families often cannot stand the stress and are ripped apart.
The same question is often lurking in Loach’s films – “Is this the best that we can do as a society?” Does a large swath of the population have to be used up and tossed out? In today’s world the middle class has to work a ridiculous amount of hours just to keep afloat. This puts untenable stress on families which end up cracking apart as a result.
Sad, realistic, powerful, dark, and depressing. But a totally worthwhile watch.
Sorry We Missed you screened at Cannes and TIFF last year. It also earned a nomination in the BAFTA Awards.