A pair of teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy.
‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ is an impressive coming of age movie that follows two teenage girls as they travel across state lines in order for one of them to get an abortion. Beginning in a small town in Pennsylvania, we’re introduced to Autumn (Sidney Flanigan), a teenager faced with an unwanted pregnancy who soon discovers the lack of options available to her in her home town and her home state. Alongside her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), the girls embark on a journey to New York, encountering further challenges along the way.
Directed by Eliza Hittman, the film depicts the hoops Autumn has to jump through to get an abortion, and the subtle pressure that’s placed on her to take a different path. Despite dealing with a important contemporary issue, the film never becomes preachy or political, and its sensitive approach to purely focus on the experience of its central character yields rich rewards. Sidney Flanigan’s performance as Autumn is astonishing, particularly in the scene that gives the film its title, when Hittman’s camera holds on her face as she reacts to each of the questions from the medical professional, struggling to hold it together as the questions get closer to a truth she’s kept entirely to herself. It’s brilliant, heartbreaking filmmaking and acting, and it’s the finest scene in an excellent film.
‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ is a film about abortion, but more than that it’s a film about the female experience and the ways in which society can make it difficult for a woman to make the right decisions for them. It’s also a celebration of friendship, and in Autumn and Skylar, we have two teenagers who are always there for each other, even as they may bicker or disagree as the toll of what they’re dealing with starts to weigh heavier. I thought this was an excellent film, well made and well acted, and there are big futures ahead for Hittman and her talented young cast.
Directed By: Eliza Hittman
Starring: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Theodore Pellerin, Ryan Eggold and Sharon Van Etten