Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) Movie Review.
Not an easy movie to watch but absolutely an important one..
Premise: When Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) suspects she is pregnant, she visits a nearby pregnancy center in her hometown Pennsylvania. She wants to terminate the unplanned pregnancy, but she realizes that her options in rural Pennsylvania are harshly limited. After Skylar (Talia Ryder), Autumn’s friend, discovers the situation, both plans to traverse to New York, learning that the health center in New York will aid Autumn with an abortion without knowing their parents. The journey is harsh, stressful…
Review: The director and writer of Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020), Eliza Hittman, got the idea of this movie after reading the news of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, which led to the passing of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013.
The movie is about the hurdles of women to get abortions, and the legal challenges in some states are a significant barrier to them. In the film, when Autumn, 17 years old, visits the medic instead of helping her with the abortion, she tries to manipulate by giving literature on child adoption and shows an anti-abortion video. The movie explores the story of Autumn and Skylar two days difficult journey to get an abortion. This powerful script is combined with the theme of a beautiful friendship, which is phenomenally written and directed by Eliza Hittman.
Autumn – I’m just not ready to be a mom : Social worker- It’s totally fine, whatever is your decision, it’s totally fine as long it is yours.
The movie might turn off some male audience because every male character is portrayed as assholes. By that, it loses some of the realistic aspects. For myself, I didn’t mind; I loved the movie. On my first viewing, I was eager to know the past life of Autumn, the father of the child is it an abusive or normal relationship. The movie never explores (until the end with some clues) that side since it’s not the central theme. So, don’t side-track yourself as I did; go on with this fantastic thought-provoking road trip of these two women, representing many women’s journey in real life. NRSA never speaks or judges directly about morals or political issues, but the subject speaks more than it has to say, like the characters in the film. They don’t talk much, but they understand more than needed.
The naturalistic performance of both two lead actresses in these debut roles is impressive. They both carried the emotion of characters throughout the movie. There is a pivotal scene In the third act of the movie, where the counselor questions Autumn before the abortion process, Autumn needs to respond with single words never, rarely, sometimes, and always; the whole 10 minutes sequence shot continuously in one take, Sidney Flanigan gives an extraordinary performance. The chemistry between Autumn and Skylar is the key to the story. The dynamic between both actresses is incredible from start to finish. Talia Ryder, in a strong, brave, and true friend role, did a tremendous job. I would like to see her in more movies. Eliza Hittman, with her brilliant, confident direction, puts the audience in the characters’ shoes, without judging and manipulating. With more than 70 percent of handheld camera work, the movie feels like a documentary; sometimes, it doesn’t work, but most of the time, it effectively worked.
Conclusion: Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) is not an easy movie to watch but absolutely an important one. The powerful story of the road trip for abortion and the beautiful friendship at the core, authentically directed by Eliza Hittman. Strong performance by newcomers, Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder. My rating 8/10
Director: Eliza Hittman
Cast: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Théodore Pellerin