CFUV @ VFF 2020: Sorry We Missed You (Review I)

Written by on 02/11/2020

Both of our correspondents made the time to go see the new Ken Loach Film. Here is Dominque’s thoughts on Sorry We Missed you:

Sorry We Missed You is the first film I had the privilege to see at the 2020 Victoria Film Festival, and it certainly did not disappoint. Set in Newcastle, England, this film unapologetically presents a contemporary issue that many face, but few talk about. Director Ken Loach depicts the arduous and complicated life of Ricky, his wife, Abby, a tireless care worker, and their two kids. Out of financial necessity, Ricky takes a job with a big delivery company, where he is obligated to work 10-12 hours per day, 6 days per week, and his debts still loom.

This film provides insight into the harsh realities of the gig-economy, where workers, like Ricky, are often overworked, overburdened, and not compensated fairly for their efforts. “You don’t work for us, you work with us,” Ricky’s boss tells him upon his hiring, referring to the ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’ that comes from being one’s own boss, while alluding to the lack of benefits, coverage, and rights that are legally guaranteed to those who are officially employees. Ricky and Abby work so hard to try and pay off debt and save for the future, that they are rarely home to spend time with their kids, creating tensions within the family. 

From immensely believable and relatable characters, to an engaging plot line from beginning to end, to laugh-out-loud moments, this film does it all. It excels at conveying an underlying (yet very powerful) political message, without sacrificing the credibility and believability of the narrative. Viewers are encouraged to consider more deeply the ways that other ‘gig’ jobs, like Uber and Skip-the-Dishes, sell a narrative of “work when you choose,” while externalizing hidden costs onto their contractors. Sorry We Missed You does a beautiful job of instilling compassion in the audience – compassion for overworked delivery drivers, compassion for care workers, compassion for tired parents, and young children watching their families be torn to pieces by the financial demands of work. This film is highly recommended as a glimpse into the harsh realities of the working class, and the challenges that many families have to face every day.

– Dominique Drouin-Moreland, CFUV Correspondent @ VFF


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