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HBO Max NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS (2020) (1 Viewer)

JoeStemme

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NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS (2020) - When we first see Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) she's on stage in a high school auditorium baring her soul in song accompanied only by acoustic guitar. Her classmates heckle and even her own family isn't all that supportive. Writer-Director Eliza Hittman continues to 'bare' Autumn for the remainder of the film - not in an overtly dramatic way, but as a meticulous portrait.

There have been many films made about teenage pregnancy, but few as sharply observed. The bulk of NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS takes place over just a few days in Autumn's life. She's 17, and found out that she is pregnant but hides that fact from everybody. Living in a small Pennsylvania town, her choices there are limited. With the help of a sympathetic cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder), the teens set out on their own for a fateful train ride to New York City with little but some moxie and what they believe to be enough cash to see their plan through.

While Autumn certainly elicits sympathy, Hittman doesn't turn her into a heroine - she simply asks the viewers to observe. To be non-judgmental. There are incidents and obstacles in her path, but it's the accumulation of details which forms the narrative. Fingers clutching fingers in support. The redness in the eyes, without tears. A glance. A body movement. While the medical procedures aren't shied away from, the most grueling scene is the sequence where the film gets its title. Autumn is given a privacy shattering verbal questionnaire about her personal and sexual history. The interrogation (while given by a sympathetic medical worker) are so invasive that Autumn can't even verbalize on some of them. The “answers” are a choice among the four words of the title.

Flanagan, like much of the cast (including Ryder), are newcomers which not only makes their performances all the more remarkable, but, also feel that much more genuine. There is a naturalness that's gripping. Cinematographer Helene Louvart shot the film on Super 16mm and it gives it a grainy gritty authenticity that digital couldn't. Louvart worked with legendary French director Agnes Varda and there's a certain stylistic connection here (some may be reminded of CLEO FROM 5 TO 7). Hittman's writing and directing is often spare, but, deceptively sharp. NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS is unassumingly resonant.
 

Jake Lipson

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This film was not made by HBO Max but appeared there as part of an agreement between Focus Features and HBO for HBO to carry their titles in the pay TV window.

Its time on HBO has come to an end and it has now cycled off of the HBO Max app.

For anybody who is interested in watching it now, it's available on disc on DVD only or as a streaming purchase in HD from places like iTunes or Vudu.

Now that it's no longer available on HBO, I will be buying the disc soon as I think the film is terrific.
 

JoeStemme

Stunt Coordinator
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Joseph
This film was not made by HBO Max but appeared there as part of an agreement between Focus Features and HBO for HBO to carry their titles in the pay TV window.

Its time on HBO has come to an end and it has now cycled off of the HBO Max app.

For anybody who is interested in watching it now, it's available on disc on DVD only or as a streaming purchase in HD from places like iTunes or Vudu.

Now that it's no longer available on HBO, I will be buying the disc soon as I think the film is terrific.
Thanks for the update. It's really tough keeping up with all the streaming options. It's CURRENTLY available on Cinemax plus the usual streaming sites for rent. It's on DVD but not on Blu Ray.

And, it's superb
 

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