Ken Loach seldom, if ever, makes feel-good movies. His 2016 film "I, Daniel Blake," which won a BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, is a study of one man's struggle against the British bureaucracy that critic Owen Glieberman called "a drama of tender devastation."
Tender moments are hard to find in "Sorry We Missed You," which I watched through the Magic Lantern's streaming service. Loach's study is of a British family struggling to survive in today's mercantile industry that treats unskilled workers little better than automatons.
At the center are the Turners, a family of four living in the far north of England. Father Ricky is a guy who has done several construction-type jobs but has now turned to being a franchise delivery driver for an Amazon-type warehouse business. Mother Abby is a caregiver for a company that is more concerned with schedules than with the comfort of its elderly or otherwise needy clients.
Teenage Seb and pre-teen Liza Jane have their struggles, too, Seb fighting the depression that the prospect of a dark future is causing in him. And Liza Jane just wants everything to return to normal.
But that's not about to happen, what with Ricky and Abby facing ever-increasing workloads, and Seb more interested in his art — his "tagging" of public places — than going to school. And there's no relief in sight.
Give Loach this much: He refuses to compromise his vision. And that vision doesn't include the kind of false hope that television sitcoms in particular offer.
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