Friday, August 7, 2020

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Early on in Eliza Hittman's Never Rarely Sometimes Always, we assume that Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) is just going through the usual teenage angst. Then we later find out she's pregnant, and that's when the tone changes completely.

Similarly to Obvious Child a few years earlier, Never Rarely Sometimes Always maintains a very sympathetic perspective towards the subject of abortion. (Yes, there are a few characters that are decidedly pro-life but they aren't so in your face about it.) Imagine if this had been released during the height of the anti-abortion movement over a quarter-century ago.

Speaking of which, we've come a long way since the days of Roe v. Wade. Yes, there are still those that object to the ruling from nearly half a century ago but again, why should someone make moral decisions for someone else they possibly don't even know? After all, it's not their body they're fretting over.

Anyway, as Hittman also showed with her previous film Beach Rats, she shows how those living an unassuming life invariably have a story to tell beyond their initial appearance. Many of us put up an invisible wall around those we don't know if we can trust. It's once familiarity sets in that -- as Hittman shows -- the wall starts to come down, brick by brick.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always shows how much society has changed since that January day in 1973 but also how there's still a way to go. Abortion isn't a word met with shock and horror (as much) anymore but not many are willing to view it as simply a medical procedure, potentially a life-saving one; they need to understand it's not their decision that's being made.

My Rating: *****

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