Eliza Hittman (writer/director) crafts the harrowing of a pregnant teenager Autumn (played by Sidney Flanigan in her debut)
Shot in 16mm—realism, the story takes place over a few days where the characters get very little to no sleep and the actors look exhausted- as they should
social realism like the Dardenne brothers—it is really a journey- a step by step procedural documenting Autumn finding out she is pregnant (with a little glimpse before hand into her homelife) to getting an abortion. And when I say “step by step” I mean we are going from the bus to the subway and spending time flipping through the phone doing google searches in the waiting rooms. Large chunks of the film are silent—sort of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s idea that action is character idea and it is very successful here. The story just plays out without a sermon though Hittman does have little moves like panning up to the counselor holding Autumn’s hand as she has her procedure
Easily, the very best scene in the film is the scene when Autumn is asked a series of questions at the planned parenthood in New York. The title comes from this scene as Autumn is asked to answer multiple choice “Never, Rarely, Sometimes, or Always?”—she answers, then bristles when it the questions get tougher, and then she finally breaks. It is a five-minute-long single take of Flanigan in close-up. Magnificent—the scene wouldn’t have nearly that effect if you cut it.
There’s also the very intentional reoccurring motif of male predators around the two young girls from Pennsylvania. This is good filmmaking as well. There’s the flasher on the subway, the employer/supervisor who kisses their hands at work, the guy on the bus who asks for her number and eventually takes advantage of the young cousin
Recommend but not a top 10 of the year quality film
Glad to see this make the archives, I really enjoyed this one. That pivotal scene you mention with one long take – just fantastic.
The movies you’ve seen of 2020 under what criteria do you select what you see, do you use a list?
in TSPDT there is still nothing.
In metacritic they published a list
@Aldo- Yes I’ve been using that one from Metacritic as a checklist– they’ll expand that so in a few days it’ll have 30-40 films on it. this is another one I use this time of year https://criticstop10.com/ TSPDT will come out in february for 2020…. as for my criteria– it is just a strange one of a kind year, right? normally I try to see 1-2 movies a week in theater so by now I have a long list of archiveable films. Right now I have 9 for 2020. Yuck. But I have no doubt we’ll hit 20-30 after I work my way through the metacritic, criticstop10 and TSPDT list in february… I’ll probably update my 2020 page in February and of course will post on the archiveable ones as I catch them
What do you think about Letterboxd? Are you interested in using it?
@Cinephile- you can probably educate me on it- I know of it- but very little besides that
@Drake– Well, in Letterboxd you can rate and review films, make lists and of course explore new films to see (mostly by lists). It’s great, in my opinion, for someone interested in cinema to use letterboxd, especially someone like you that you already have a website here with The Cinema Archives. It’s very interesting.
@Cinephile- thanks for the recommendation here
@cinephile. I’ve never really liked letterbox. Maybe I’m using it incorrectly?
@Cinephile do you have an account I can follow?