Sundance Exclusive Review: Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always

Year: 2020
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Director: Eliza Hittman
Writer: Eliza Hittman
Stars: Ryan Eggold, Théodore Pellerin, Talia Ryder, Sidney Flanigan

By Rosa Parra

“Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always” by Eliza Hittman, follows a pregnant 17-year-old who decides to go to New York to have an abortion performed. She resides in Pennsylvania, where the abortion laws are strict, so after some searching, she finds New York is the best place to get the procedure (without needing parental consent).

I walked into this film knowing absolutely nothing, then the movie began, and I observed that it’s about a pregnant teenager. I immediately felt a knot in my stomach because I could relate to Autumn (I became pregnant with my first daughter when I was 16). I understood her concern and insecurities about her pregnancy. However, I can’t say I entirely understand everything she had to endure because my outcome was completely different from hers.

never rarely
Sidney Flanigan in Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)

One thing is for sure; this is the type of film where your ideas and political preferences should be left out of the theatre. It doesn’t shy away from the details of having an abortion, nothing too graphic just aspects of the procedure, and some scenes inside the procedure room.

Although this film is coming out in a time where women’s health rights are at the front and center of political debates, its dull and monotone performances kept me from loving it.

I posted on twitter that this film addresses an important and controversial topic, but it didn’t entirely work for me. Although this film is coming out in a time where women’s health rights are at the front and centre of political debates, its dull and monotone performances kept me from loving it. Granted that the subject matter isn’t necessarily fit for a joyous, exciting film, but for the most part, the performances and sometimes the pacing had more bored. Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) goes to New York with her cousin (Talia Ryder), who also works in the same grocery store as her. Their lack of dialogue didn’t convince me that they were related. However, there’s one powerful scene that nearly broke me. It’s the same scene where we learn the meaning behind the title of this film.

Overall, this is a good film that everyone is praising, but it came a little short for me. This movie may connect with those who’ve experienced this situation and maybe informative to those who haven’t. An important topic worth exploring told from a female lens.

3.5 stars

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