Tropic Sprockets Goes Streaming / Never Rarely Sometimes Always

By Ian Brockway

There are few things more harrowing or upsetting than the decision to have an abortion. Such is the scene of “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” a recent film by Eliza Hittman. This understated film builds gradually in increments into an engrossing and impactful drama.

Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) is horribly ridiculed in high school. At home she has a distant mother and a lascivious alcoholic father, who states that Autumn is mentally ill.

One morning, she goes to a clinic, not feeling well for quite some time. A pregnancy test comes back positive. Autumn does not want to be a mother. She tries to terminate the pregnancy, unsuccessfully, by swallowing pill after huge pill of vitamin C.

With her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) Autumn gets a bus to New York City to seek an abortion that does not require parental consent. On the bus they meet the leering and offhand Jasper (Theodore Pellerin) who is unsettling in persistence.

The two girls do not know how to proceed, but they walk through the city to an appointment with wolfish male eyes constantly watching the pair with lust and suspicion.

Flanigan, Ryder and Pellerin are excellent. This is a timely, effective story in the tradition of the moody and pointed films of the 1970s (most notably Looking for Mr. Goodbar) rich in scenic detail. As enigmatic Autumn proceeds step by step, we soon learn, given the judgmental counselors and the prying eyes of men, that we could be in the realm of horror.

Nothing is as it seems. As each scene unfolds we witness the erasure of one girl’s innocence under the blight of predatory male hands and sucking lips.

This film is available for rent on Amazon, Apple TV and other services.

Sent from my iPhone