A hard-up delivery driver and his wife struggle to raise a family, trapped in the vicious circle of modern-day labour exploitation. This is Britain.
Ricky has, in his own words, bounced from shit job to shit job all his life. He’s now a delivery driver and, alongside his wife Abbi, a carer, they’re struggling to get by on their zero hours contacts. The pressures are mounting and, with little hope of a bright future, even their children are becoming disillusioned by the world they’re growing up in. Still, they get up, go to work and try to do their best.
This may be a work of fiction but it may as well be factual. Sorry We Missed You is a brutal and honest depiction of the true hardships that working class people have to go through to survive in broken Britain. It’s a film and message that we all should know about, especially those in a position to change things.
If you’re familiar with the films of Ken Loach those last two paragraphs will come as no surprise. Never one to sugarcoat the world we live in, Sorry We Missed You is ‘kitchen sink drama’ in every sense of the phrase. Unfortunately with that comes a level of predictability. There’s a sense of inevitable dread and difficulty throughout, an important feeling for the political message, but not one that makes a good drama.
When focused on the emotional plight of Ricky and his family, however, Sorry We Missed You soars with a raw beating heart of drama. There’s moments that will hit you like a gut punch to the stomach. Sadly, they’re too few are far between as the film gets distracted by uninteresting supporting characters. They take up too much plot and screen time that it only serves to strengthen the political message of the film, as opposed to the story.
Ken Loach is known for casting actors with little to no experience and in the case of Kris Hitchen, who plays Ricky, it’s a resounding success. It’s raw, untapped and deeply engaging. His performance might even seem stronger when stood next to a sub-standard and disappointing supporting cast. It pains me to say it but the acting is below par and, to be frank, actually embarrassing. As a result, it’s hard to engage with the characters who are reading their clearly scripted lines and it only makes them and their emotional states feel less real.
Sorry We Missed You adds to the catalogue of Ken Loach, a true pioneer for British filmmaking, but it’s not his finest hour. The message and intent behind Sorry We Missed You is true and, in a way, it’s a success itself that a film focusing on such a topic enters the mainstream cinemas. Anything that shines a light on the difficulties on our world is a bonus. It’s just a real shame that, with so many missed opportunities, Sorry We Missed You falls short as a drama.
By Jordan Barrett