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Never Rarely Sometimes Always is an independent auteur film Elize Hitman who debuted a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival. Due to the situation with the crown, the distribution company Focus Features released it on a video-on-demand system, and it attracted attention at the festival in Berlin, where the jury awarded it the Silver Bear. According to critics, this film is considered one of the best from last year, along with Nomadland.
The plot follows 17-year-old high school student Otumn (Sidney Flenigen) which is uncertainly moving through the vulnerability of female adolescence in rural Pennsylvania. After unwanted pregnancy, she faces conservative legislation that does not allow abortion for minors. Since he is not allowed to tell his parents, with the support of his cousin and best friend Skyler (Raider deck) finds money and secretly board a bus to New York to seek medical help in a country that is not so restrictive about abortion…
At the very beginning of the film, during the school performance, our protagonist received a rather nasty insult, but no one stands in her defense, while her performance ends with a muffled applause. She receives mocking shouts in the restaurant, she is the subject of rude statements and ridicule, while her mother does not listen to what her daughter has to say to her. We quickly realize that Autumn is a very lonely person both at school and in her own home, without friends and support, and is in a period of life when she desperately needs support.
We soon learn that her life situation has been aggravated by an unwanted pregnancy. Autumn categorically refuses to push through the pregnancy and is looking for any way to lose the baby. After unsuccessful attempts to induce a miscarriage, he takes drastic steps. This is not a classic story about a minor pregnancy because we know practically nothing about her and a lot of things remain unsaid, we don’t even know the identity of the man with whom she became pregnant.
The best part of this film are the small, quiet moments in which we see the protagonist when she is most intimate and most vulnerable. The author is aware that gestures or the tone of routine dialogue are very important for understanding people and their intentions. For example, we don’t know anything about Skyler, but we know that the only thing that matters to her is that Otumn needs help and is ready to help her. One procedure was enough to understand that she is selfless and loyal, that is, that she is the right type of person we need when we are in trouble.
The film contains several emotionally strong scenes, and I especially single out the one when Otumn answers questions about his sexual history. The author more than successfully conveyed to us the feeling of loneliness, loss, helplessness, how the protagonist encounters legal and bureaucratic obstacles, as well as the hustle and bustle of the city that does not sleep. In addition to the psychological struggle, Autumn also faces a lack of sleep, but at the clinic she encounters women who approach her with decency, respect and empathy, which is an oasis of peace in her pain and confusion.
It is absurd that the film represents a minimal but quality story and that it indirectly deals with topics such as the right of women to choose and their everyday life surrounded by chauvinism and abuse. However, as in the case of the film Nomadland, the author chooses an art-house approach and a slow pace that can be tedious and pretentious for most film lovers. As in the case of Fern, here we have a lot of shots from Autumn in which she does nothing, and the mystery that surrounds her and the circumstances that brought her into a difficult life situation will not be taken as a plus by everyone.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always is an art film about a lonely person in her loneliest moment and people who show her that she should not be alone in this world – an intimate, touching and relatively pretentious view of society’s treatment of young women.
my final grade: 7/10
Source: The Filmske Recenzije by filmskerecenzije.com.
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