Sometimes film projects are years in the making until the right time comes around: the wait is certainly worth it with Eliza Hittmann’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always. In 2020, under the Trump administration, women’s reproductive rights are in a constant state of regression as new bans are established and former rulings overturned – the film manages to capture the immediacy of these issues, feeling timely as well as timeless

From the film’s opening, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) appears to fall outside of what is expected – both by her small Pennsylvanian hometown, and her family. Her father is actively dismissive, her mother and siblings barely pay attention to her. When Autumn finds out she is pregnant, it’s clear that she’s in this on her own: the camera stays with Flanigan in solitary scenes, focused on her face as the girl processes this momentous news. 

She’s alone until she ultimately confides in her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), though the actual conversation is never shown. This tacit display of solidarity and allyship leads them on a bus trip to a planned parenthood clinic in New York City. What ensues is a modern odyssey for these girls, in which the obstacles they encounter – be they of the human, the medical or the financial kind – are all deeply relatable.

Hittman’s subtle masterpiece lives and breathes in silences, in what isn’t explicitly stated. Who the father is, for example, the audience never finds out – but this is Autumn’s journey and her decision only. Likewise, an interview with a counselor reveals that she has endured physical and sexual abuse, though she finds herself incapable of revealing more of its nature or context.

With a narrative that is both universal and deeply personal, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a film of the utmost urgency, a gut punch of the very best kind.



CAST: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Théodore Pellerin, Ryan Eggold, Sharon Van Etten

DIRECTOR: Eliza Hittman

WRITER: Eliza Hittman

SYNOPSIS: A pair of teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy.