Here is another one of those films that I’m going to praise for the realism, the script, the acting, the story, the content, the realism, the realism, the realism aaaaaaand the realism, and I’m going to say it deserves all the praise it is getting from critics, but I will never have the urge to watch it again, because it was really hard to watch. NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS is a movie about the journey to a character’s abortion, but it’s realistic in the sense that nothing really outlandish, Hollywood spiffed up, or bombastic happens in the movie. It is basically the Boyhood of abortion movies. We only get hints and small tid bits about this 17 year old girls life (Autumn), with no definite answers other than that she finds out she’s pregnant, she definitely wants an abortion because her current sex partner is probably abusing her, so her and her cousin (Skylar) go to New York to get the abortion because in Pennsylvania if you are under 18 to have you have a parent or legal guardian sign off on the abortion and she doesn’t want anyone in her family to know. It’s a road trip/hang out kind of film, but one that is dark, dirty, grungy and depressing. There is no decent male character in the film, in fact, I would say that while you really feel bad for this girl, and you appreciate that her cousin goes the journey with her to get the procedure done, the characters aren’t really that likable, even though realistically they could be relatable to someone you know. It’s a movie that also doesn’t try to change your mind whether you are pro choice or not, it is just merely showing you a realistic situation for what happens when a decision like that is made.
Which is good because I don’t really care for films that try to push you hard politically or hot topic wise one way or another. And abortion is a really hot topic among people, so I was surprised to find that this film really walked the line very well and didn’t really cross to either side (don’t worry, will not be voicing my opinion on any real life issues on here). The film kept my attention even though it was really slow, but it kept my attention because it was all very believable. Especially the acting, which other than Autumn’s father (Ryan Eggold from The Blacklist and New Amsterdam) and the boy her and her cousin Skylar meet along the way (Theodore Pellerin, Boy Erased and a bunch of other small things), I think that it was every one else’s acting debut. The girl who plays Autumn, Sidney Flanigan, is incredible in her role, and it shocks me that this is her debut, especially in a powerful, powerful scene in the middle of the movie where the title of the actual movie comes up, if she gets an Oscar nomination if nothing else comes out the rest of this year, I really wouldn’t be surprised. Everyone is great here, role big or small, it all felt realistic, like our eyes were just constantly following two regular girls out in the regular world. And the script and direction by Eliza Hittman is good to. She has a knack for realism behind the camera, and I look forward to anything she makes in the future.
And just to be clear, I am recommending this film and think it deserves all the praise it is getting. I just couldn’t personally ever watch it again because it was hard to watch because everything felt so sad and depressing. I wanted Autumn to go to a psychiatrist after all was said and done to talk to someone just to get her mentally healthy again. I wanted her to go to the cops and tell them what all the abusive men in her life had done to her to get some sense of justice. But this isn’t a Hollywoodized film like that. I knew it wouldn’t show something to that degree. It’s just a little glimpse, a couple of days really, into the life of a 17 year old girl who finds out she is pregnant and wants an abortion because we find out she is physically and mentally abused by her current sex partner. We jump in and jump out in the flash of an eye, and I just don’t ever want to jump in again, and feel down like that. The film is PG-13 and not too long at only an hour and 37 minutes without credits, but I felt like with the subject matter, it might’ve been best if slapped with an R rating, but that’s probably just me. If the subject of abortion and possibly seeing a little of one will really upset or bother you I highly don’t recommend you watch this film that won a special prize at Sundance this year for “Neo-Realism”. Never will I reveal what I really think about abortion, rarely will I want to watch a film about it again, sometimes I will watch one if it gets a bunch of acclaim, and will always give it praise where praise is due. It’s a very good, well made and well acted film, but I can’t even put it in my top twenty films so far this year, because I know I would never watch it again.
P.S. Wanted to say this was one of those theater at home movies that appeared on streaming services to rent only for $19.99. It is the only film that went down in real price to $9.99 (for which I then decided to check it out), and that is probably because it wasn’t getting many hits at the price it was at. Studios take note, price the rentals where you’d think it would get the most money in the first place. I guarantee you those who rented this at the $19.99 price a week or two ago are pissed just based off principal.