Never Rarely Sometimes Always

* * * *

Working within total realism, centred around a debut actor’s (perfectly) naturalistic performance, Eliza Hittman’s third feature Never Rarely Sometimes Always is rather sublime. Full of pure empathy and compassion throughout, it makes a thousand points well without any made didactically; it is simultaneously one of the angriest films I’ve seen this year while also being one of the quietest.

Brand-newcomer Sidney Flanigan plays Autumn, a teen in Pennsylvania who needs an abortion and travels to New York City, with her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), to get it. Along the way the girls encounter the things girls encounter, including some incredibly sharply observed male oppressive behaviours.

Captivating performances, hyper-real settings (some of this film had to be “stolen” / shot guerilla-style) and a central scene that’s among the best of the year add up to a must-see film that, like The Assistant, takes on Something Big with quiet and furious precision.