Films I loved in December 2019

Kris Hitchen as Ricky Turner and Katie Proctor as Lisa Jane Turner in Sorry We Missed You

Sorry We Missed You is a nuanced and heartbreaking portrait of a family where both parents are working poor, and at the mercy of unreasonable bosses with unrealistic demands in the new gig economy. However, among the frustration, anger and despair that comes from the erosion of work–life balance as the new norm, there are still moments of humour, kindness and compassion. English filmmaker Ken Loach has been making films for over 50 years, and with I, Daniel Blake in 2016 and now Sorry We Missed You this year, he is creating cinema as relevant, powerful and urgent as ever.

Adèle Haenel as Héloïse and Noémie Merlant as Marianne in Portrait of a Lady on Fire

French filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a suburb slow-burn film about desire and repression at the end of the eighteenth century when a young artists is commissioned to covertly paint a portrait of a woman about to be married against her will. It is extremely rare to see a film succeed on so many levels, but the film’s social critique and the depiction of the growing passion between the two protagonists are handled with intellectual rigour, emotional sincerity and visual sensuality. The culmination is something extremely profound and deeply moving.

Thomas Caldwell, 2019