Ken Loach is famous for his socially committed films, and his new film, Sorry We Missed You, is no exception. Loach brings the kitchen-sink drama bang up to date with this indictment of the gig economy in the UK with a family struggling to survive in the modern world of work.
The gig economy, or uberisation of work, is a phenomenon affecting many countries but Britain has its own insidious twist on these new forms of rights-free working: zero-hours contracts.
82-year-old director British Ken Loach had planned to retire after making the heart-rending I, Daniel Blake, which won the Palme d’or at Cannes in 2016. But the veteran director and activist had unfinished business. As he and his team had visited food banks for Daniel Blake, Loach had discovered that many of the people using them were actually in work. But they had been forced into part-time jobs or "zero-hours" contracts, where an employee has to be available to work whenever the employer calls, but has no guaranteed minimum number of hours she or he can count on. Increasingly, food-bank users also include those working in the "gig economy", for example for Uber or food-delivery drivers, again with no guaranteed minimum income.
This inspired Loach to set Sorry We Missed You in Newcastle, like Daniel Blake, this time in a family where both parents work but in low-paid and often insecure jobs. When the father Ricky decides to join the gig economy as a delivery driver, the family’s life will be majorly impacted. Meantime, mother Abby runs from one patient to another as a badly paid carer and son Seb wonders what he can best do for his future.