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Never Rarely Sometimes Always – 2020 Hittman
- 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