In writer/director Eliza Hittman’s new work, she succeeds quite skillfully at making succinct points about female reproductive rights without sermonising. Her two lead actors, Sidney Flanigan as Autumn and Talia Ryder as her cousin Skylar do a great job with very little dialogue. Their faces and micro-expressions tell you all you need to know.
The plight in today’s America with its inconsistencies regarding local and state abortion laws forces undue hardships on the two young women and the way Hittman tells the story will render you equal parts empathetic and angry. A person’s right to their own body seems such an intrinsic element of being a human being, it boggles the mind, the limitations that are put in place in modern-day society in so many countries, not just America.
There are also numerous elements of the story that are hinted at that expand the plight of Autumn and Skylar and their difficulties in life. Autumn has a fractured relationship with the father figure Ted played by Ryan Eggold. It hints at unseen troubles and both of the girls have quite the weird interactions at their place of employment with management. The degree to which these elements negatively affect their lives is left to you.
You are never spoon-fed the emotions you are meant to feel but arrive at them in a very organic and natural way. Extremely well made, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a brutally honest and unflinching look at a young woman being deprived of her right to choose what she does with her own body. It is completely free from extraneous and unwarranted melodrama and doesn’t let you off the hook easily. Its overall effect is to force you to choose a side.