Welcome to the gig economy in the British drama Sorry We Missed You

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Sorry We Missed You is the upcoming British drama that takes aim squarely at the increasingly popular labour model that highly-paid consultants, highly-paid business analysts, highly-paid CEOs, and other highly-paid idiots who won’t be affected by the consequences of it are trying to force onto the weakly-regulated market – the so-called “gig economy”.

For those who don’t know, the gig economy (under which people like your Uber driver currently fall) is touted as having excellent benefits for those working under this model, such as increased freedom and flexibility in how and who they work with and potentially making more money in the short term than a full-time employee, and that’s true to a point. If this all sounds familiar it’s essentially a cool-sounding rebranding of the term “freelancer” or “temporary worker”.

If I can paraphrase the famous gambling expression, the corporation always wins in the end. Because the people working for it are no longer legally classified as employees, labour regulations pertaining to the rights of employees (such as paid vacations, sick leave, dismissal, etc.) are significantly reduced, and the employer is under no obligation to pay any sort of benefits like pension or medical aid. It makes good business sense from a numbers point of view and goes a long way in explaining why it’s being pushed so hard, but whether or not it benefits society as a whole is a matter for debate, and I think you can guess where I stand on that.

So what’s left out by those promoting this employment pyramid scheme is that the benefits to regular people operate on a sliding scale – an individual only really benefits from this the more in-demand their skill is, and that’s where Sorry We Missed You comes in. Reuniting the writing and directing pairing of Paul Laverty and Ken Loach (for the BAFTA-winning I, Daniel Blake), respectively, it tells the tale of an ordinary working-class British family who were badly affected by the 2008 financial crisis and subsequently forced to move into the gig economy in order to make ends meet. It stars Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, and Katie Proctor.

The official plot synopsis is as follows:

Ricky and his family have been fighting an uphill struggle against debt since the 2008 financial crash. An opportunity to wrestle back some independence appears with a shiny new van and the chance to run a franchise as a self-employed delivery driver. It’s hard work, and his wife’s job as a carer is no easier. The family unit is strong but when both are pulled in different directions everything comes to breaking point.

Let’s take a look:

It’s not very subtle is it? Good. Sometimes issues like these need to be bluntly displayed in order for people to actually sit up, open their eyes, and see the forest for the trees. Its economic message aside, this also looks like a solid little family drama that’s both well-acted and directed – it’s got some real heart without clogging up the arteries with too much cheese.

What do you think? Sorry We Missed You is due to open in the UK on 1 November.

Last Updated: June 20, 2019