A Review of Never Rarely Sometimes Always
In director Eliza Hittman’s latest film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, we meet our protagonist, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan), while she is performing at a 50’s sock hop themed school talent show. Her classmates lip-sync or dance to pre-recorded songs, but she gets up in front of everyone and sings and plays the guitar herself. Autumn has a sense of melancholy to her that makes her seem mature, yet she still seems young enough to be a high school student. She sings the line: “He makes me do things I don’t want to do,” shortly before being heckled by a boy in the audience, but she stays strong and keeps going. She and her cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder), work at a local grocery store where they experience varying degrees of toxic masculinity from both male customers and their own manager. Autumn, who initially seems like a teenage girl with a normal amount of angst, slowly starts to exhibit that there is more going on in her life: she’s pregnant.
Set in western Pennsylvania, Autumn initially visits a women’s clinic that is heavily Pro-Life, where she is shown a graphic “abortion is murder” video. At 17, she is not legally allowed to have an abortion without parental consent. While her mother appears both loving and concerned, she already has her hands full with two younger children and Autumn’s lackluster (and, at times, inappropriate) stepfather. Autumn keeps the news of her pregnancy to herself while she tries to figure out ways to induce a miscarriage, before she finally admits to her cousin what is really going on. The two decide to take a bus to New York City, where Autumn will be able to have an abortion as an unaccompanied minor. Hittman’s film really focuses on this journey and the odyssey of these two teenage girls attempting to maintain control over their own bodies and decisions.