Nobody Loves You and You Don't Deserve To Exist. Photo: Serious Feather
Nobody Loves You and You Don't Deserve To Exist. Photo: Serious Feather

An untraditional portrayal of class warfare and life under the Tories

Zakk Brown, Manchester and Salford Socialist Party

Brett Gregory’s existential, Gothic, class-based tragi-comedy ‘Nobody Loves You and You Don’t Deserve To Exist’ is built on contradictions. It eschews traditional filmmaking tenets like ‘show, don’t tell’ by having its story delivered by a series of monologues and direct audience address like Alan Bennett’s ‘Talking Heads’, interspersed with narration. These narrations are accompanied by shots of modern decay in Manchester juxtaposed with an archaic-sounding Gothic score which utilises harpsichord plinks over an eerie, distorted ambiance.

Carried by stellar performances, particularly by a rare standout performance from a child actor, the plot follows Jack across three time periods in his life under Conservative rule, in 1984 under Thatcher, 1992 under Major and 2020 under the current government. We are treated to a grieving, depressed, alcoholic old Jack in the beginning of the film and learn what led to this pain throughout his life through monologue. That’s about the extent of the threadbare plot. This isn’t a disservice to the film, however, as it is more interested in its thematic and symbolic storytelling than narrative.  

The film uses art and literature to express class struggle over direct storytelling. It opens up with a quote from Jorge Luis Borges’ ‘The Circular Ruin’, a short story in which people are brought into the material world by being conjured through dream. Following that, the opening credits are a slow scan over Bosch’s triptych ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’, which portrays creation, pleasure and decay across its three panels. The presence of this painting throughout the film reflects Jack’s life in three parts – his creation in youth in the 80s, his hedonisitic uni days in the 90s and his personal hell in 2020. When paired with the Borges quote, and the Gothic occult and biblical references throughout its runtime, we see a film concerned with its subjects as creations by other, powerful beings.

These ‘powerful beings’ are alluded to as the closure of the pits under Thatcher, inflation, economic struggle and Black Wednesday under Major, the mass Covid deaths under Johnson. It gives the idea that working-class people and the struggles they face are manifested by powerful people behind the scenes. That criminals, drug addicts, depressed and anxious people aren’t their way by nature, but are created out of material conditions beyond their control.

Nobody Loves You is a brilliantly crafted film, managing to wring out a masterpiece from its minute budget and offers a fresh, metaphysical and spiritual portrayal of class warfare.

  • Nobody Loves You and You Don’t Deserve To Exist is out now on Amazon Prime