Insider tip on Amazon Prime: One of the best films of recent years will tear your heart apart

With Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2020 and was screened in the Berlinale Competition, director Eliza Hittman has created an extremely touching coming-of-age film. It tells the story of 17-year-old Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) who has a unwanted pregnancy and the loneliness of the big city.

A silent coming-of-age story on Amazon Prime

In the first few minutes, however, the lights of the metropolis New York are still far away. Instead, we find ourselves in rural Pennsylvania, where Autumn is a unassuming life leads. Her classmates only notice her when it comes to mockery and ridicule. Very few people around her see her properly, possibly even only her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder).

You can watch the trailer for Never Rarely Sometimes Always here:

Never Rarely Sometimes Always – Trailer (German) HD


At times, it seems Skylar is the only person on the entire planet who can empathize with Autumn and see the wounds that the rest of the world doesn’t even notice, but only torn further will. Autumn eventually heads to New York with Skylar to visit an abortion clinic. What follows is a silent odyssey through night and rain.

The fear of the unknown and of returning

A long bus ride, stolen cash and the uncertainty before the next morning: What makes Never Rarely Sometimes Always significantly different from all the coming-of-age films on Netflix and Co. is this feeling of absolute uncertaintyThe film awakens. There are no warm, soothing colors here, no cozy soundtrack, and nothing else to hold on to either.

Instead, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, in its entirety as a film, captures the very moment Autumn must decide to get on the bus to New York, not knowing if her emergency plan will actually work. Not only is there the fear of the labyrinthine streets of the big city. It’s much bigger fear of returning in the one-way street of their homeland.

Although Sidney Flanigan plays Autumn as a closed character, she leaves no doubt as to what it must mean for the protagonist to embark on this journey – for her head, for her body, for her feelings. As simple as the film seems in its structure and construction, so the nuances are complexwhich emerge between the harsh images of cinematographer Hélène Louvart.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always and the loneliness

Also, Autumn and Skylar’s relationship can only be compared to a few things that were last seen in the coming-of-age movie. Two young women suddenly find themselves between two fundamentals different worlds again, but are not at home in any of them. A circumstance that leads to the fact that they are not only alienated from each other, but also from themselves.

The loneliness, which was already clearly felt at the beginning of the film, increases with every passing minute until Autumn is completely isolated abroad. Eliza Hittman carefully surveys her face in the cold, gray rooms, while Julia Holter’s score carefully explores the character’s hidden emotions about the oppressive anonymity transported away from the city backdrop.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

It is particularly exciting how Eliza Hittman deals with the question of security, because in Never Rarely Sometimes Always there are many different answers that open up additional perspectives. Even if at first glance it seems as if the figures are in free fall, inconspicuous, precious moments on that go in a different direction.

A Scene defines Never Rarely Sometimes Always

The scene that gives the film its title is the best example of this. In the hospital, Autumn is asked questions that she has to deal with four different options can answer: never, rarely, sometimes, always. A routine – and at the same time so much more: Autumn suddenly comes to a standstill and the entire film with her. What follows are tears and a look that will never fade from memory.

Was that security now? Or the pure, ultimate loneliness? Probably a mixture of both – and that’s exactly what Eliza Hittman’s film does incredibly strong. Finds simple, clear solutions Never Rarely Sometimes Always Not, although there is a fully developed question and answer sheet out there somewhere. But even that doesn’t help with growing up. Everything is much more complicated.

a notice: We published this article in a similar form in October 2020.

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