Tracker Pixel for Entry

Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | April 4th, 2020

Eliza Hittman’s Sundance favorite “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which played in theaters for just three days before Focus Features pulled the film amidst the widespread and unprecedented coronavirus-related closures, will be made available on demand beginning April 3. According to Anne Thompson, the movie will cost $19.99 to rent for a 48 hour period and will be carried on several platforms. As distributors and consumers navigate the unexpected changes brought about by stay-at-home measures, social distancing, and self-quarantine, the industry will adjust -- at least for the time being -- to the idea of premium video on demand rather than a traditional rollout in movie theaters.

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which received a Sundance Special Jury Award for Neo-Realism before going on to claim the Silver Bear at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, tells the story of a pregnant Pennsylvania teenager who travels with her cousin to New York City to get an abortion. Hittman’s third feature continues to demonstrate the talents, sensibilities, and cinematic evolution of a first-rate writer-director, following the closely-observed and emotionally-charged “It Felt Like Love” (2013) and “Beach Rats” (2017) -- both of which premiered at Sundance.

A stunning debut performance by Sidney Flanigan, who anchors the movie as the pregnant Autumn, keeps with Hittman’s tradition of using young actors who convey achingly recognizable humanity. We spend the movie in close proximity to Autumn, whose determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable setbacks and challenges aligns with Hittman’s own surgical restraint and withheld judgements regarding her protagonist’s actions. For reasons that Hittman allows the audience to infer from the behavior of the people depicted in the expository scenes, self-reliance is the first, best, and only option as Autumn sees it. But she does take cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) along on her journey, and the relationship of the two develops as one of the movie’s most rewarding components.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the devastating consequences anticipated by Autumn, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” is as powerful a coming-of-age story as any in recent memory. Hittman is unfailingly good at expressing the uncertainties of the liminal passages facing the two young women. Autumn is naive not only to the speed and volume of NYC, but also to the labyrinth of abortion services, rules, and regulations. The cousins are also caught right on the very edge between childhood and adulthood, innocence and experience. Hittman effectively illustrates the latter via the introduction of Jasper (Theodore Pellerin), a pushy, pesky, and persistent admirer of Skylar. The unsettling mood that accompanies his presence underscores the extent to which both Skylar and Autumn are vulnerable.

Throughout the course of the film, Autumn meets with a series of adults, and these figures exist along the entire spectrum of pro- and anti-choice (one such scene, among the very best of the year, gives the movie its title). Hittman does not hide her own sympathies, and all of these counselors, caretakers, and practitioners act from deep personal investment and firmly-held moral and ethical orientations. In other words, all intend to do what they think is right, or best, for Autumn and others like her. Hittman’s depictions of these interactions, which were constructed from the director’s own deep research, remain wholly devoted to the personal experience of Autumn, whose face and voice reveal the deepest and most empathetic notes, again and again.

Recently in:

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.comFargo, ND – Mayor Mahoney issued a city-wide mask mandate on Oct. 19th, shortly after North Dakota became the state with the largest number of new cases per capita in the US, a record it…

Shawnee Kaseman of Wishek, ND was awarded the title of Miss North Dakota for America 2020 this past September, but instead of preparing to hit the stage in a glittering gown under sparkling lights,she addressed pageant judges from…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

Editorial

Parler Games

by Sabrina Hornung

In a news cycle where it’s tough to discern fact from fiction, you may have noticed that a number of conservative media consumers are announcing their dramatic exit from Facebook and Twitter. After Twitter labeled a number of…

Is There Personal Liberty? When Does It Begin And End?It was bound to happen to an inquiring mind. Scientists around the world are monitoring sewage for outbreaks of COVID-19 because victims of the virus have had the very…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

Reviving Rural Grocery Stores in North DakotaBy Annie PrafckeFargo, ND – On October 7th, Gov. Doug Burgum awarded Milnor Market and the Forman grocery store project Main Street Awards, as part of an initiative led by the Office…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.comMusicians and concertgoers alike unexpectedly found their plans disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Artists and venues have been facing a situation that is unprecedented for most…

Sofia Coppola’s delightful distraction from national affairs sees the writer-director returning to her sweet spot: the tiniest whiff of autobiography in a story that, to paraphrase James Stewart’s Macaulay “Mike” Connor in…

By Jill FinkelsonWe’ve been hearing the word Unrest a lot lately. Unrest in the streets. Unrest in the capital. Unrest in our own homes as we struggle to hunker down in the face of the unseen pandemic. People are restless. They…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comEloise Breikjern has been the Executive Director of Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre since 2013. She will retire in December.High Plains Reader spoke to her about the strength of her staff, the…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Ashlee Nordquisthpr@hpr1.comI've come to the conclusion that not everyone understands why my brother and I went on ventilators for covid and what that means. As I survived and my brother SO FAR is improving, I can make jokes and…

By Marc de Cellemarcdecelle@midco.netAs someone who has voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the last decade, and who has participated as both a poll worker and an absentee vote counter in the last five years, I feel it's my…