FIN Review: Sorry We Missed You a thoughtful tearjerker, even if it can’t match Loach’s I, Daniel, Blake

This review was initially printed for the FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival in September 2019, but is being re-released to time with the opening of this film in Canadian theatres March 5, 2020.

Two years ago, Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake rocked me to my core at that FIN iteration. It was my favourite of the festival that year.

So when I heard his latest — another story of economic struggle in Britain and the difficulties of modern blue collar life — was coming this year, it was immediately on my must-see list.

I’m happy to report Sorry We Missed You is a gem of a film, even if it doesn’t attain the magic quality of Blake. The story of an unemployed man who finds himself delivering parcels — paid per parcel delivered, not by hour — and struggling 15 hours a day to make ends meet is difficult and moving.

His wife, who cares for patients, is paid for the hours she cares and not for travel or anything else. Her husband sells the family car to buy a van for his parcel work, making his wife’s life harder. He calls it “an investment” in his future as a driver.

And yet, he’s docked pay if he misses deliveries and there are no sick days in his world. He could be close to his death bed, but if he finds no replacement driver for the day, his pay is docked.

The family — including a teenage boy and a young girl — struggles through their lives, pinching every penny and never quite making ends meet.

It’s a sad tale — but a reality in both America and the U.K. right now — and that’s what makes Loach’s work, and that of screenwriter Paul Laverty — so effective. Their fingers are squarely on the pulse of the economic issues of the day, and Sorry We Missed You is a comedic take with some truly dark scenes.

I loved it, and I love Ken Loach. He and Laverty truly do make magical films. The reviews out of TIFF weren’t favourable, but as far as I’m concerned, they were dead wrong on this one.

Sorry We Missed You is a timely character drama with that will hit home with the common viewer.

4/5 Stars

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