'Never Rarely Sometimes Always': The Harrowing Tale of Two Teenage Girls on a Journey of Desperation
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) is a harrowing yet deeply absorbing drama about a pair of teenage girls who travel from Pennsylvania to New York City to seek out assistance in the face of unintended pregnancy. First learning that she is 10-weeks pregnant at a crisis center in her hometown, 17-year-old Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) is stymied by state law requiring parental consent for early termination.
After failing in an attempt to perform the act herself, Autumn is forced to to recruit her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), who proceeds to steal cash from her workplace to buy a pair of bus tickets to New York. Hoping to have the procedure performed at a Planned Parenthood in Manhattan, the two girls navigate the big city while remaining woefully naive about the depth of their undertaking—ultimately falling on the mercy of a young man named Jasper (Théodore Pellerin) whose intentions for Skyler are far from pure.
Deriving its title from a medical form questioning the incidence of physical abuse in her relationship, Autumn’s candid response further discloses the abject misfortune that she has endured—adding a piercing level of empathy and compassion for her tumultuous plight. Kudos to writer/director Eliza Hittman, inspired by Cristian Mungiu’s celebrated Romanian drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (with which it shares many similarities) yet paring the storyline down to it’s most basic elements, and delivering a gut-wrenching tale of profound human deliverance.
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