Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)

I picked a movie from the HBO Max lineup today for the DailyView that is leaving the streaming platform this month. It was not on my original list, but I had considered this movie several times last year. It was around on Vudu and other on demand services, but I did not get around to seeing it. This now becomes the next DailyView film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always.

Produced by Barry Jenkins and directed by Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always tells a powerful story of a teenage girl Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) who found out that she was unexpectedly pregnant. She and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) went to New York in search of an abortion and, along the way, dealt with the harshness of life and the challenges faced by young people in the world.

Autumn had to go to New York for the procedure because there were troubles at the local clinic. The person at the clinic was specifically trying to influence her into keeping the baby, going as far as lying about how far along Autumn was in her pregnancy (To be fair, they never specifically say this, but it is implied heavily). An unusual home life prevented her in confiding with her parents.

So Autumn and Skylar got some bus tickets and went to NYC.

The two girls were really lucky that anything worse did not happen to them. They had limited money so they were struggling to find places to stay, especially when they had to be sent to a different clinic because she was 18 weeks pregnant instead of 10 weeks as her hometown doctor told her.

Plus, the procedure was going to take two days, so they had to account for a couple of days in New York with few options available.

The powerful performances from both Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder propelled this movie forward. The relationship between these two girls are the center of the film while the honesty of the situation brings the tension and a distinct feeling of uncomfortableness. This was a tough movie to watch because of that level of uncomfortableness, but these two young actresses are stars in the making.

Easily the best scene occurs in the New York clinic where a counselor questions Autumn about the situation using questions that are to be answered “never, rarely, sometimes or always. ” There was so much revealed in that scene without having things laid out in front of the audience.

The movie is slowly paced, but it worked very well with what story they were telling. The realism of the story brought a level of honesty that some audiences may not be ready to handle. Of course, the topic of the film has been desperately controversial since the beginning.

A tough watch. Very powerful.

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