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Review: Sorry We Missed You

March 6, 2020

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The latest social realist drama from veteran English filmmaker Ken Loach, Sorry We Missed You explores many of the same themes of systemic poverty and the struggles faced by those who aren’t at the top of the economic ladder as his Palme d’Or-winning previous film I, Daniel Blake.

This film follows Ricky (Kris Hitchen), the patriarch of a working class English family. Desperate for work, Ricky becomes a driver for a delivery company that promises independence, but imposes strict rules upon its employees and has steep fees in order to buy into the company.

Ricky convinces his wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood), who works as a home-care nurse for seniors and other high needs clients, to sell her car in order to purchase the truck that he needs for the job, starting an escalating series of symbolic Catch-22 type trade offs.

This is the first of many things that puts them on a downward spiral, leaving them struggling to support their troubled teenaged son Seb (Rhys Stone) and their young daughter Lisa Jane (Katie Proctor), who wants nothing more than for her family to stay together. But no matter what they try to do, Ricky and Abbie keep working harder and falling further behind, with hidden costs that keep cropping up, which puts them deeper and deeper into debt, and further destabilizes their family unit.

They are trapped in a viscous, seemingly endless cycle which is all too common in this gig economy that is built around precarious work and fuelled by corporate greed. The story that Loach is telling in Sorry We Missed You feels bleak, yet it’s sadly very believable. The film doesn’t offer much in the way of hope, but if it had than that would have betrayed its very credibility. The result is an interesting and well acted, if admittedly depressing, look at the struggles faced by the working class.

A version of this review was originally published during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

Sorry We Missed You is now playing in limited release at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.

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