Sorry We Missed You (cinemas 1 November) is director Ken Loach’s new story of life in modern Britain.
Abby and Ricky Turner have been struggling to get by since the financial crash. They work hard to give their children a secure home but the debts mount. Hoping to improve things, Ricky becomes a self-employed driver for PDF, an international delivery firm. Buying his own van means selling Abby’s car. As a home carer she must now spend more unpaid time travelling between clients by bus.
The effect on the family of 14-hour days, exhaustion and guilt is devastating.
Ken Loach says the film is Chapter 2 in a story that began in 2017 with I, Daniel Blake. Daniel was trapped in benefits bureaucracy. The Turners have precarious tech-industry (‘gig economy’) and service (outsourced) jobs where it seems people are expendable. At a preview screening in Epsom on 23 October the veteran director was characteristically forthright. He alleges that “millions of people are now living this life but it’s barely mentioned in the press or politics”.
He wants “to tell a story and raise a few questions”. He asks:
Of course, this is political. But the film isn’t. There are no lectures. Like Daniel Blake, it’s set in Newcastle. The actors are local people with different levels of experience. Ricky’s colleagues are real delivery staff or have been. Debbie Honeywell (Abby) worked locally for 20 years as a teaching assistant.
In the end, its evident honesty makes Sorry We Missed You social drama, not political broadcast.
Aristotle famously said a tragedy on stage should inspire pity and fear. Both are everywhere here. In Abby’s and Ricky’s terms of employment. In the simmering violence of Ricky’s relations with his teenage son. In Abby’s compassion for helpless, hopeless clients. In the parents’ truly sad awareness of their failure. If you have tears…..
Sorry We Missed You Wikipedia CARBS Campaign Better Self-Employment Citizens Advice Contacts of employment