Independent films that premiere at festivals, get picked up by a pretty recognizable distribution company, and eventually either released in theaters, or in this case, at home, rarely get seen by a large audience, due to the small nature of the movie. Without large marketing campaigns, films like NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS (2020) are likely to fall by the wayside. With that said, it’s also very much a case of whether or not you’re willing to watch a film with tough subject matter. I always highly recommend viewers seek out hidden gems because you will often find something great that nobody has been talking about. Due to the premise of this movie though, I find it extremely difficult to tell you to watch it and here’s why.
After 17-year-old Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) finds out she’s unintentionally pregnant, she ventures off to New York City with the company of her cousin. Her plan is to find a clinic that will allow her to terminate the pregnancy, which becomes quite a stressful life-threatening trip for her. Off the top, I’ll just state that if this premise will never be able to hold your attention, I’ll save you from this movie in saying that it really does waiver from that synopsis. When I watch a movie, I choose to put myself in the shoes of the person involved, even if that means stretching my beliefs a little. In regards to that, this movie is absolutely fantastic.
From the dirty, grainy look to the entire film to the incredibly raw performances by both Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder, this film had all the makings of what people in the film industry consider a “festival darling.” Not only did this film feel authentic from start to finish, but can also work as a lesson to those who are faced with a similar situation. While I found myself fundamentally disagreeing with every single decision every character made throughout the course of this movie, I also felt for them. Autumn was faced with impossible circumstances between this and her home life and made you beg the question of what the right decision truly was.
Written and directed by Eliza Hittman, NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS has proven to me that she is a director worth following. The performances she was able to get out of every actor/actress involved were amazing to me. I believe it was due to her realistic screenplay and caring direction that such an authentic film came from her. She is definitely someone I will seek out in the future. While it is some very tough subject matter to handle, I believe she did a great job, even if it will be a devastating watch for many viewers.
In the end, NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS is not a film for everyone. Some viewers will despise it, some, like myself, will be able to look at the story itself and find a fantastically done film, and other may be able to relate to it on a personal level. This is the type of movie that will hit viewers in many different ways. On top of that, it has a very slow and quiet feel to it, so some viewers may also find it slightly boring. For me, it was kind of the perfect storm of being hard to watch, but also impeccably made. Again, it’s very hard to recommend this one, but if you’re willing, it’s pretty great.