British director Ken Loach is back with his latest film, ‘Sorry We Missed You’. This latest project sees the reunion of Loach and long term creative partner Paul Laverty, who pens the screenplay here. The film follows the Turner family and their struggle to survive amongst debts, new and old. With Abby, the mother working as a carer and Ricky, the father taking on a new opportunity as a delivery driver it proves even harder for them to provide and care for their family.
With this new film Loach expertly captures the harsh reality for countless families across the country. The narrative is presented alongside this horrible feeling of foreboding and this fearful apprehension only makes clearer the unstable situation the Turner family are in. Any setback could prove disastrous and this is a feeling that never goes away. Laverty is careful to include short glimpses of joy where we see this family get a break but ultimately the realities of work, bills and commitments are inescapable for them and the screenplay makes no allowances for this truth. It also showcases the daily struggles the Turner family are presented with in just carrying out their jobs. Abby is a carer who has to manage a hectic and unpredictable schedule, tending to the needs of many vulnerable adults. She gets little help or understanding from her employer yet she’s doing one of the most important jobs there is, ‘Sorry We Missed You’ brilliantly highlights the issues within this job and the strain it puts hardworking and truly caring individuals like Abby under. The same goes for Ricky and his experiences as a delivery driver, with many factors out of his own control he still finds himself being held accountable for things that he shouldn’t be.
Kris Hitchen and Debbie Honeywood are tremendous as Ricky and Abby, as well as Rhys Stone and Katie Proctor who portray their on screen children, Seb and Lisa Jane. All of these performers portray this family on the edge, being pulled in every direction perfectly. Their chemistry is undeniably authentic with their performances feeling so raw and believable. It’s a combination of this and the honest writing that makes this film so emotional. ‘Sorry We Missed You’ is littered with countless heartbreaking scenes in which the cast excel which will no doubt affect viewers in a deeply moving way. This isn’t a story you need an imagination to follow, it isn’t set in a far way land, instead this is a reality for many of our neighbours, co-workers, families and friends and Loach hammers this home in devastating fashion.
‘Sorry We Missed You’ is powerful British filmmaking at its best and essential viewing for everyone. The core cast deliver a quad of excellent performances bringing to life Laverty’s screenplay in an especially emotive way. Loach has combined the two to create another superb social commentary which is at times a harsh watch. However, this harshness is wholly nessecary to do justice to its subject matter and handled by the director with absolute skill and precision, delivering a future British classic.
Written by Hamish Calvert
STAR RATING – ★★★★★
Question: What is your favourite Ken Loach film?
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Thanks to Queens Film Theatre for screening access