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Sorry We Missed You


Stars: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor, Ross Brewster

Director: Ken Loach

Another pitcher of misery from Ken Loach, this time looking at life on the breadline in Newcastle.

There's more family quarrels here than in several episodes of EastEnders. Head of the family is Ricky Turner (Hitchen), who has just found work with a delivery company, PDK, but needs to find a 1,000-pound deposit to get his own van. This means that his wife Abbie (Honeywood), who earns peanuts as a carer, has to sell her car and go to see her clients by bus.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Sam (Stone) is in trouble at school and insulting at home, living his life, as teenagers do, on his phone. Eleven-year-old Liza-Jane (Proctor) watches in horror as family life unravels.

Both Ricky and wife work 14-hour days, leading to rushed meals, tired minds and frayed tempers (the film's favourite line seems to be 'So it's my fault, is it?').

Ricky takes on more work, Seb is suspended from school and Abbie despairs of cleaning up after her often incontinent clients, as well as turning out in the middle of the evening to help them (not my experience of carers).

On one delivery, Ricky attacks a recipient who refuses to give him ID, nearly crashes his van through tiredness and, after being beaten up and robbed by three muggers, is told by his authoritarian boss (Brewster) that the stolen items for which he must pay add up to a grand.

The Turners' life, like the film, is unrelenting; but time has overtaken Loach, and there aren't any themes here that you might not find these days examined on TV.

Acting is good from all the family members, with Proctor a natural talent that must be encouraged. Some of the supporting acting, though, is a bit ropy, but the film, like all Loach's work, is still thoroughly well made - even if the change in Seb at the end from out-of-control tearaway to dutiful son seems a bit abrupt.

All I can say is, thank goodness my Hermes delivery person doesn't grab me by the throat if I'm slow signing for one of my wife's parcels.

David Quinlan

UK/France/Belgium 2019. UK Distributor: entertainmentOne (BBC/BFI). Colour by Kodak.
102 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 30 Oct 2019