Never Rarely Sometimes Always; 2020’s First Potential Classic of the Year. Grade: B+
Updated: Apr 27
Quarantine really makes you a financial advisor during these critical times. For example: Renting a movie for $20... That’s a price of a first release indie film in NY/LA, only you’re in a glamorous theater and get access to the film first. Luckily my patience has paid off, as Never Rarely Sometimes Always has it’s rental price cut in half, just three weeks after it’s V.O.D. release. In conclusion: Make these in theater rentals the cost of a movie ticket please and thank you.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always tells a story about a young seventeen year old named Autumn (Sidney Flanigan), whom works at a grocery store, likes to sing, and is close to her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder). Autumn discovers that she is pregnant, as she has 0 desire in keeping the child. Autumn wants to get an abortion, but theres a problem: It’s illegal in her state to get an abortion, without permission from her legal guardian. Autumn doesn’t want her parents to know she’s pregnant, but needs to get this abortion. So Autumn and her cousin pack their bags, get enough money to travel to New York, and get the legal abortion without permission from her parents there. Witness a determined young individual travel to get an objective accomplished, while having an experience in the city that never sleeps.
The Cinematography was absolutely fantastic, a wonderful film from a visual standpoint, so wonderful that you can honestly maintain your enjoyment of this film, even with having the sound off. The style behind this film honestly feels like a 90’s/early 2000’s kind of film, it delivers an authentic experience of outstanding shots of a simple part of New York City. The Score was solid as well when presented, had some nice composed music. The cast all in all was great as a whole. Sidney Flanigan playing Autumn played a great performance, as a teenage woman hoping to successfully get an abortion. As a character Autumn is well written, despite the lack of dialogue given for this character, she maintains interest as the film gives her mystery of what is inside the mind of Autumn. What is her intention of getting this abortion? Who is the father and how would the father react to this news? Who is Autumn? The film gives you little bit of information about this character, without really feeding the audience much information. It’s handled by the way the character interacts with people, followed by how she reacts by questions by a doctor. Skylar played by Talia Ryder played a pretty good performance as well. The development of the character Skylar could’ve been done better, as we didn’t really learn much about this character, but still was a nice supporting character alongside with Autumn.
I do have a couple flaws with this film. I think the lack of awareness from Autumn parents was kind of unbelievable, as they don’t really check up on her during her travels. Could it be that this film was set in winter break? Maybe so, but Autumn parents really never check up on her once, which is odd because she hasn’t communicate with her parents at all... When she’s been out of town for a few days. I felt one part of the third act was a bit silly, won’t spoil anything but it’s how Autumn and Skylar make it back home. Oh I also felt Autumn and Skylar should’ve went to that stranger’s show... Would’ve been nice instead of them bouncing around subway to subway.
From a regular audience standpoint I feel as many will find this film rather overrated, particular due to the fact this film is heavy on Style over Substance. The film offers rarely any dialogue to be completely honest, the film stands out from a visual standpoint offering an experience. For one that does have problems with style over substance kind of films... Never Rarely Sometimes Always becomes my favorite film of the year so far, I found this an extremely enjoyable film start to finish. Though the film is simple as far as the plot goes, it offers an engaging experience where though minimal dialogue is offered, the story maintains interest just by going on a small journey with these characters, trying to complete a task at hand. The film will start an intriguing conversation on abortion as well, how will we look at it and how we feel about the restrictions. Especially in the hospital scene in the third act, where it reveals a reason why Autumn has chosen this route to abortion... That scene alone will be remembered as a very impactful emotionally riveting scene. The film also shows themes of sexual harassment as well, as we see a few moments of guys being absolute creeps to women. The film also offers some rare bright moments. I enjoyed the arcade scene, followed by that tik tak toe game against a live chicken... That was awesome. The girls hanging out with the stranger, eating, conversing, bowling, and karaoke. The scenery of New York was also very nice to experience as well. For what the film is: Eliza Hittman delivers a truly remarkable experience, that will be adored by film buffs for years to come.
Overall, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a great film. I highly recommend checking this one out, definitely worth the purchase I will say! After watching this film, I immediately watched Beach Rats... Eliza Hittman is gonna be a director to follow for years to come, a truly unique film maker indeed! -Mitch Smietana