Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a hard film to watch, but it’s essential for any woman to do so regardless of their age.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a simple movie with devastating observations. It’s about a teen girl navigating a world of predatory men, sexist notions, and hostilities she must endure for autonomy.
The story opens with the kind of environment Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) is in. After a talent show, a boy from school makes a gesture of a blow job at her in a restaurant. Later at home, her father pets the family dog and then calls her a slut for enjoying the attention while looking at his wife. When she visits a clinic, the doctor makes no effort in asking about her situation and guilt-trips her against getting an abortion.
Autumn isn’t ready to be a mother and it’s clear she won’t get any support.
Thankfully, her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) is sympathetic. The plot follows the pair as they go on a desperate trip. Anyone who has made the same journey will relate with the two as they deal with financial problems and bureaucratic snags. In the second most powerful moment in the film, Autumn holds Skylar’s hand as she realizes what her cousin has to do so she can afford the procedure.
Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder provide the needed reprieve from the unnerving journey. Their onscreen chemistry is wonderful to watch. Flanigan provides a restrained performance for Autumn that when she finally cracks to reveal the abuse behind her pregnancy, it’s a heartbreaking moment that will stay with you for days.
Eliza Hittman captures all of this through an empathic lens. Never Rarely Sometimes Always doesn’t have any big speeches and preachy moments. It’s filled with quiet moments capturing the emotional turmoil and determination of its characters.
In the end, as Autumn and Skylar complete their journey, we are reminded of what it’s like to be a teen girl today. The right to female agency is caught in a net of socio-economic issues and long-held archaic beliefs.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always shows us how society fails girls like Autumn who need empathy instead of judgment and reveres their quiet strength.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a quietly devastating abortion drama about the hostilities adolescent girls face as they fight for autonomy and empathy.