Never Rarely Sometimes Always

It might take a while to realize that Never Rarely Sometimes Always isn’t a period piece – which is exactly the point, since underage teens in Pennsylvania can no longer get abortions there without parental consent, so 17-year-old Autumn has to travel to Manhattan with her supportive cousin and struggle to find shelter for a few days before terminating her pregnancy. Also, they get to play Tic-Tac-Toe with a chicken at a Chinatown arcade. That game hasn’t been around since 2003. Anyway, writer/director Eliza Hittman tells a fairly touching tale of young women stuck in a crappy situation. They can’t even sleep in a subway car because one of those Wall Street types from Joker is still running around and exposing himself. If nothing else, Sidney Flanigan’s turn as Autumn will easily count as one of the most impressive screen debuts of the decade. Viewers just have to ignore that the young women are going through all of this misery for absolutely no reason. Hittman deserves some credit for showing that Autumn makes a moronic decision to turn down an offer to stay at the home of supportive volunteers working with the abortion clinic. The gals could be resting up while watching Netflix and probably enjoying their choice of take-out. It’s an irritating extra level of enforced victimhood, but it’s also another admittance that Autumn makes lousy choices. That’s after she starts the movie by giving herself a nose piercing.

[PG-13]