Sorry We Missed You (4 stars)

Sorry We Missed You

Cannes 2019: Ken Loach takes a typically compassionate look at Broken Britain in this gruelling and poignant drama

The casualties of Broken Britain continue to inspire heartfelt human drama from director Ken Loach and his screenwriting partner Paul Laverty. Sorry We Missed You is less of a fanfare for the common man than a cry of anguish for those in the grip of an economy blighted by zero hours contracts and the illusion of opportunity.

Ricky (Kris Hitchen) is a proud grafter who will do anything to provide for his family. He is persuaded that there is a good living to be made as a white van man. A freelance status will put him in control of his destiny. He supplies his own van and faces stiff penalties for any infringement of strict rules. Rarely can the offer of freedom have sounded so much like enslavement. The thousand-pound deposit for the van is found by selling the car that wife Abby (Debbie Honeywood) relied on for her job as a carer. Now she must travel by bus, eating into a work schedule that seems designed to discourage compassion. There is a real sense here of everyone running as fast as they can merely to stand still.

The film's heart lies in its quiet observation of the lasting impact on family life. The unrelenting demands of work exact their toll in frayed tempers, critical absences and a lack of time to devote to the things that should matter most. Teenage son Seb (Rhys Stone) is becoming a problem child at school, whist youngest daughter Liza Jane (scene-stealing screen natural Katie Proctor) shoulders the burden of being the family peacekeeper

Laverty's screenplay seems determined to see how much misery one family can endure. There are no easy answers offered, no triumph against the odds, just a gruelling, poignant understanding of an economic system that puts profit before people.

Screening as part of the Cannes Film Festival 2019. General release TBC.

Sorry We Missed You

  • 4 stars
  • 2019
  • UK
  • 1h 41min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Ken Loach
  • Cast: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor

Ricky (Hitchen) becomes a freelance delivery driver in order to earn more money, but the financial toll on himself and his wife Abby (Honeywood) starts to destroy their family life. No easy answers, no triumph against the odds, just a gruelling portrait of the damage the system can do.