Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Director
Eliza Hittman
Writer
Eliza Hittman
Actors
Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Théodore Pellerin, Sharon Van Etten, Ryan Eggold, Drew Seltzer, Kim Rios Lin
Runtime
1 h 41 min
Release Date
13 March 2020
Genres
Drama
Overview
A pair of teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy.
  • Rating

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS

Whether you are in support of, or against, a woman’s right to chose, Never Rarely Sometimes Always stirs up your emotions, and probably not good ones.  The spectrum of feelings range from sadness, frustration, pissed off, bored, anger, and sadness (sadness deserves to be listed twice, maybe anger too, anger with the whole system).

Plot:

Never Rarely Sometimes Always is about seventeen-year-old Autumn (Sidney Flanigan, her first movie) finding herself pregnant in a small Pennsylvania town.  Autumn has no parental support and lives with a suspect stepdad.  She works as a cashier but has no money.  What does she does know – she knows she does not want to be a mother.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Autumn (Sidney Flanigan)

The local clinic cannot help her without parental consent.  The clinic probably gives her inaccurate information, pushes adoption, and shows high impact videos about what happens during an abortion.  Desperate, Autumn and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder, soon a Jet in West Side Story) bus to Manhattan for an abortion.

Thoughts:

The film shows their risks, compromises, intimidation, humiliation, and pain they go through in Manhattan.  The clinic offers help, but the seventeen-year-old Autumn turns it down, overwhelmed with the whole process.  The problems and risks they encounter are not due to being in Manhattan. The City is not the bad player in this movie.  The problems arose because two teenagers must take unnecessary risks to obtain a medical procedure.  All the risks and problems seem real.  The friendship and the actions taken by the two women, Autumn and Skylar, seem very genuine, age appropriate, and sad.

Autumn and Skylar (Talia Ryder)

Never Rarely Sometimes Always is an Indie film, slow and deliberate. The acting is low-key, relying heavily on facial expressions and a lot of closeups.  Autumn has one dramatic scene when she answers personal questions about her lifestyle. “Please answer with one of the following answers: never, rarely, sometimes, always.”  Autumn’s expressions while trying to answer shows that she can act.

Eliza Hittman wrote and directed Never Rarely Sometimes Always.  Hélène Louvart is the cinematographer. The music throughout is by Julia Holter (I’m not counting the karaoke music). Final song during credits Staring at a Mountain by Sharon Van Etten.  A wholly women’s effort.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always successfully makes a statement about the horrors encountered when young pregnant women have no support.

This is a serious and genuine drama that will lead to discussions.  Never Rarely Sometimes Always is great for a slow Wednesday night movie, not an end of the week Friday or Saturday night movie.

 

The Biggest Spoiler: The Ending
The first New York clinic could not help Autumn. She was 18 weeks, not 10 weeks as the local Pennsylvania clinic told her.  The procedure performed at the second clinic in Manhattan requires two days.  Autumn declines help. With no money they live on the streets for two nights.  On their way to New York, they meet a young man on the bus Jasper (Theodore Pellerin). Jasper shows obvious interest in Skylar.  Desperate, they call Jasper, comply with some of his desires, and borrow money to get home.  They complete the abortion and then take a bus home.  A simple story but it pains you to see the confusion, doubt, apprehension, and possibly fear on the two women’s’ faces throughout the movie.

 

Movie Details

Director
Eliza Hittman
Writer
Eliza Hittman
Actors
Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Théodore Pellerin, Sharon Van Etten, Ryan Eggold, Drew Seltzer, Kim Rios Lin
Runtime
1 h 41 min
Release Date
13 March 2020
Genres
Drama
Overview
A pair of teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy.

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