March 30, 2020

SCREEN | Never Say 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always'

"Don't you ever just wish you were a dude?"
Sidney Flanigan Talia Ryder Eliza Hittman | Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Focus Features / BBC Films
Indie filmmaker Eliza Hittman's third directorial effort Never Rarely Sometimes Always is such a powerful drama about the bureaucratic process around getting an abortion in small-town America. In the film, a pair of rural Pennsylvania teens must travel to New York City to seek out medical advice after an unplanned pregnancy leaves them desperate with few options or resources.

Starring newcomer Sidney Flanigan in her first role ever as Autumn, she's a regular seventeen-year-old teenage girl with an all too common dilemma. Alongside Talia Ryder as her cousin Skylar, the pair set off from their working-class family and hometown to the big city in search of a resolution to their predicament. The cousins' unspoken and unwavering support for each other is the story's emotional crux. Through the two young actresses' glances and looks, they certainly feel like cousins and best friends.

What's most vital and refreshing is the detail with which Hittman shows the very specific logistics of any procedure associated with ending a pregnancy told in exhaustive detail. Flanigan is stunning in how she portrays the weariness of her character's very real problem. So much of the story is about process and support.

Hittman's remarkably intimate film packs such an emotional gut-punch as it very necessarily puts a human face on the struggle young women face in getting a safe and legal abortion. Autumn is everyone and anyone with the very reality of her empathetic situation resonating emotionally. Never Rarely Sometimes Always is an important film with its message artfully weaved into a compelling dramatic narrative.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always is available to stream on iTunes and through video on demand starting April 4th.

More | YVArcade / AV Club / Now Toronto / THR

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