Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Review: Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Release date: April 3, 2020
Running time: 101 minutes
Starring: Ryan Eggold, Théodore Pellerin, Talia Ryder 

Never Rarely Sometimes Always follows a teenager who, having made a very difficult decision, is forced to go to even greater lengths to carry it out.  The young lady is pregnant and is seeking to terminate the pregnancy without her family finding out.  And because of her family situation, policies in her state, and other factors, in order to accomplish this she will have to travel and scrimp by when she has neither the experience nor means to do it.   

Never Rarely Sometimes Always feels like a very real movie; at times it feels like a documentary.  The main characters are teenagers and the struggle that they go through to accomplish their goal is very real, if a little muted.  I imagine the muted emotions are simply to be more in line with how a teenager going through this situation might react, that she is processing the predicament she is in rather than overtly showing emotion.  And perhaps the quiet tone is meant to show that for many people, these types of decisions are not generally discussed.  The character's emotions and experiences feel like they could be a true story; this film has a refreshing lack of Hollywood-ization making this feel like a very human story.  However, the numb reaction to much of her predicament does make the main character seem less sympathetic given her situation.  There are some choices that she made and some of the interactions with her cousin that just seem odd.

That being said, this movie does have some absolutely fantastic scenes.  There is one scene with a questionnaire that was incredibly powerful and well done.  The filmmaker painstakingly went through every aspect of that scene, and it really fit with the overall story.  And that story is a very real story, if an uneventful one.  Like much of life, the journey was difficult but the overall story progression was slow and didn't feel like it had much drive.  There is an overarching problem and a way to get to the solution, but the time in between just isn't that interesting.  However, what Never Rarely Sometimes Always does manage to show is just how difficult it can be for a minor trying to seek help for a problem that they shouldn't need to do on their own.  It also gives a window into the lengths that some people are forced to take to deal with problems that, again, should not be this difficult to deal with.  It is a realistic, heartfelt piece and a sobering experience. 

Never Rarely Sometimes Always tells a realistic, heartfelt story that is a sobering example of the experiences and lengths that some people are forced to go through to exercise their rights.

Rent it.

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