Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)
Director: Eliza Hittman
Writer: Eliza Hittman
Starring: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Theodore Pellerin, Ryan Eggold, and Sharon Van Etten
Plot: A teenage girl and her cousin travel to New York City so she can get an abortion without parental consent.
Review: You know what? Sometimes movie watching can be a weird hobby, as you’re thrown from one extreme to the other. Sunday night, I watched Guns Akimbo, a high energy, fun shoot ‘em up. Then, the next night, Never Rarely Sometimes Always was on the docket. And, honestly, I don’t think there are two more different movies on the entire planet. This was a slow, realistic and oftentimes hard to watch drama. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean one was better than the other. I really enjoyed Never Rarely Sometimes Always. I mean… as much as one can enjoy this type of movie.
A word of warning to any who go to watch Never Rarely Sometimes Always. It is incredibly slow. Not much happens in it plot-wise. You’re pretty much just following these two characters as they execute this scary, hastily scraped together plan. It’s almost like watching a documentary. There’s no added drama. There’s nothing thrown in there just to make the audience laugh. There’s not much of a score. In fact, it doesn’t really feel like much of a movie. But, that’s also kind of the point. This venture is already scary enough. We don’t need anything added to make it worse. Going through this process as a teenage girl sounds absolutely horrifying. Heck, I’m intimidated by it and I’m quite a bit older.
On the other hand, this movie 100% does not pull any punches. (No horrible pun intended, if you’ve seen the movie.) It’s brutal. From watching our lead character try to have a miscarriage early on to seeing the constant amount of sexual harassment these girls endure, it can be a very hard watch. In fact, I had to fight the urge to close my eyes or look away almost as often as I do in the gnarliest horror films. However, I think that brutality is needed. It really drives home the point. We’ve made abortion too hard to obtain for young women. The process is almost scarier than the procedure, which is insane. This is showing that insanity and what teen girls are willing to do to avoid it. It’s really tragic stuff. Likewise, sexual harassment is just flat out gross. It makes the guys look like creeps and the women super uncomfortable. And this movie really puts you in their shoes. I could feel the same disgust the characters experienced. So, definitely not an easy watch, but I feel like it’s an important one. And that’s the point.
I wouldn’t say that all of Never Rarely Sometimes Always is entirely bleak though. There are some moments of light. First of all, the love that these two cousins have for each other is very strong. Some of the things they do for each other really hit me hard. You can tell that they just want to be there for each other, especially in this scary situation. Likewise, there’s one doctor at the Planned Parenthood office who was legitimately a nice person. There’s a scene where the doctor has to ask her a couple of questions before the procedure that nearly broke my heart. She obviously wants what’s best for her young patients and knows that a lot of them have really tragic backstories. It was nice to see someone who genuinely cared. I’m glad there was some heart to this movie. It made it feel more real. Like, even when you’ve got to go up against these crazy, scary situations, you can always count on someone to have your back. I think that’s an important message.
I definitely respect the hell out of Never Rarely Sometimes Always. I think it’s one of the most important movies to come out this year. It’s not an easy watch by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a necessary one. I feel like I walked a mile in someone else’s shoes and learned a thing or two. I was already pro-Planned Parenthood but this movie put everything in a new perspective. This is definitely a very real, scary journey that a lot of young girls have to go through. And, honestly, that’s tragic. Things need to change.
TL;DR: As hard as Never Rarely Sometimes Always can be to watch with its slow pace and brutal realism, I feel like it’s an important watch that shows a new perspective.
Score: 8/10 (Great)