Never Rarely Sometimes Always: Film Review

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

I don’t use the phrase “essential viewing” in many film reviews but Never Rarely Sometimes Always deserves that title. This abortion drama is eye-opening, important, and necessary, required viewing.

Eliza Hittman‘s latest drama follows 17-year-old Autumn Callahan (Sidney Flanigan), who goes to a clinic in her Pennsylvania hometown and confirms her suspicion that she’s pregnant. After discovering she can’t get an abortion in the state without parental consent, Autumn and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) take a bus to New York so she can have the procedure done at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

There have been many films which deal with the topic of abortion but Never Rarely Sometimes Always is the most specific and detailed account I have ever seen. I would argue that the majority of the general public – excluding those who have personal experience with abortion – don’t really know what it entails and this film provides that insight. The entire film maps out the process from start to finish, from Autumn discovering she is pregnant to having the abortion and all the obstacles in between. It is educational, informative, and so enlightening. I really appreciated the attention to detail and that it takes us through all the steps she has to make, what types of people she has to talk to, what types of questions she gets asked, how the rules differ between states, and how expensive and time-consuming it is.

The subject matter is handled sensitively and with care and feels very realistic and observational, like it could almost be a documentary. The dialogue is pretty minimal and some people might find the pace too slow, but I liked this approach. I also really appreciated that Autumn’s sexual partner(s) are kept anonymous so the focus is always on these two girls, as it should be.

Flanigan makes her acting debut with this film and her lead performance is so natural and honest throughout, but in the scene which gives the film its title, she is so moving. That scene is devastating. I predict great things for Flanigan’s acting career going forward and I’m also expecting to see much more of Ryder, who is excellent as the supportive cousin.

I really hope Never Rarely Sometimes Always is shown in schools for educational purposes because it should be. There is a lot of stigma attached to abortion and so many won’t know that it is not an easy or simple process. This film also helps show how prohibitively expensive it is to get one in America, which in turn explains why many girls can’t have one. I know I said it at the start, but I’m going to repeat myself – Never Rarely Sometimes Always is essential viewing. Do yourself a favour and watch it.

Released digitally via outlets such as Sky Store, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and Apple TV from Wednesday 13th May and released on VOD from Wednesday 27th May

Rating: 4/5

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