This is far and away my favorite film of the year so far. Never Rarely Sometimes Always is the story of a teenager named Autumn who travels with her cousin across state lines to New York City to get an abortion. I know. Doesn’t sound like a super fun watch. I bet that a lot of the people reading this just mentally crossed this movie out. And I don’t blame you if you did. This is a movie that could easily be unbearable. It could very easily have come across as preachy, judgmental, or inaccessible. It could have easily tried too hard to pander to the masses and made it into a quirky road-trip flick. All of it could’ve gone sideways under the wrong hands. Luckily, this movie could not have been under better hands.
Director Eliza Hittman has crafted a truly transfixing, beautiful, and mature film here that absolutely gutted me. Yeah, don’t get it twisted, you will not have a skip in your step after this movie is over. It is devastating. But it’s not devastating because of any grand and tragic event. Nothing in this movie feels grand or exaggerated in any way. It depicts the kind of shit that women all around the world go through every day with such honesty and precision and in such a elegant and captivating way, that it forces the viewer into, not only Autumn’s shoes, but an entire generation of women’s shoes. That might sound overbearing or preachy, but it’s not. I think the reason that is is that this movie is not hateful in any way. Despite it having every right to scream and yell and condemn the world, it doesn’t. Because this movie is brilliant. It acts as a snapshot of our times tied around a simple and easy to follow story that forces you to stop and look around. It trusts the audience to see what is not always spoken, and it trusts the actors to say what needs to be said without always speaking. But they are more than up for the job.
Sidney Flanigan plays Autumn, and she is astounding. This movie would not work without her. Every glance, every movement, every word she speaks is thoughtful and absurdly realistic. She melds with the genius script in such a way that she stops feeling like a character and just becomes a person. I feel like I know her. I understand why she makes every decision she makes in this movie without her needing to explain why. And her interactions with her cousin Skylar (played by the similarly brilliant Talia Ryder) are so honest and relatable, it’ll make your head spin. Oh man. There are two scenes in particular that make my heart sink every time I think about them. Holy shit. This movie gave me a level of understanding that I think only films can do. I legitimately think that if everyone on this planet saw this film, the world would be a significantly better place. Please see it. Especially if you’re a dude.
IT’S A MASTAPEECE!