Directed by Ken Loach and a screenplay written by Paul Laverty, Sorry We Missed You is a British Drama that tells the story about a family that are in crippling debt and would like to eventually own their own home rather than having to pay rent, and be independent.
Set in Newcastle, Ricky Turner (Kris Hitchen) his wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood) and their two children Seb (Rhys Stone) and Liza (Katie Proctor) have struggled to make ends meet since the financial crash of 2008. Since then, Ricky has worked one dead-end job after another and Abbie is a care worker for elderly people. Even though Abbie enjoys her job, it isn’t enough to get the family out of debt and to own their own home.
A chance comes along for Ricky to run a franchise as a self-employed delivery driver. With Ricky and Abbie now working long hours, the family unit begins to fall apart when Seb starts skipping school and is caught shoplifting spray paint for his street art, while Liza is losing sleep over the fact that her family appears to be crumbling right in front of her.
The first thing that I would like to acknowledge about this film was how real the family turmoil was portrayed. There is a moment in the film where Seb has been caught stealing so Ricky has to leave work and lose a day’s pay to see him at the police station. The scene that follows is Ricky and Seb having an argument at home that seemed so genuine that I felt like I was watching a fly on the wall documentary rather than a work of fiction.
There is also another powerful scene where Abbie is on her mobile phone to her boss at a bus stop and she is trying to explain that she has fallen behind with her work because one of her patients had an accident and needed some additional caring to. A lady at the bus stop has overheard the conversation and asks Abbie is she is alright and she breaks down because she cares for her patients as if they are her own family.
It isn’t all sad though. There is a heart-warming moment where Ricky takes Liza to work with him showcasing a father and daughter spending some quality time together. I thoroughly enjoyed how the film focuses on each character to display their story arch, but also showcases the interactions between the family members when they are together.
Ken Loach captures the struggle of debt, the challenges of trying to raise a family, as well as the stress of needing to work enough hours to make ends meet. Sorry We Missed You is a ‘no frills’ type of film that isn’t afraid to be bleak, but is also surprisingly fun and charming.
Displaying both the highs and lows of a typical family, Sorry We Missed You dives deep to show the hard side of life; when things aren’t going your way and everything you do seems like an uphill battle. The film shares an important message that through both the good times and the bad, you can’t give up and need to keep on trying.
Sorry We Missed You has played at various film festivals including Cannes Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival and won the audience award for the best European Film at the San Sebastián International Film Festival. Sorry We Missed You opened in Australia on Boxing Day, and is in all good cinemas now.