Movie Plot: A teenage girl of 17 and her cousin in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek medical help after an unintended pregnancy.
Director: Eliza Hittman
Writer: Eliza Hittman
Cast: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Théodore Pellerin
Abortion remains a difficult subject and especially in the United States, where each state has its own rules around this topic. Even for me, this remains a difficult subject, but I am a man, so I would never know what it really feels like.
Autumn, seventeen years old, has an unwanted pregnancy. No idea what to do. That says less about her than about the society in which she grew up. Eliza Hittman seems to stand out with her hyper-realistic drama. The girl has to do her best and go far to get help.
In the United States, you now sometimes have to travel quite a bit to get an abortion. With her niece, Autumn (debutante Sidney Flanigan) travels from wintry Pennsylvania to rainy New York for a drastic procedure that rarely gets serious attention in movies. Who is the guy that put this introverted girl pregnant? Unclear. The men around her have a disparaging, obscene, or intimidating presence.
For me personally, it didn’t bother me that much, but it was kind of one sided. There was another guy in this film, but even he felt like a man with other intentions. However, that doesn’t matter. The reason I watched it is due to the abortion topic.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a great title for this very good movie. Where it usually feels artificial when a character in a movie says the title out loud, that scene in Eliza Hittman’s film is a highlight. Never’, ‘rarely’, ‘sometimes’, and ‘always’ are the four answers to a series of very personal questions for those who want to have an abortion at the American Planned Parenthood. Have you ever experienced this or that extremely annoying thing? A partner who doesn’t want to use a condom, a partner who messes with your contraception, a partner who forces you into something? Never, rarely, sometimes, always.
It may sound cold, such a multiple-choice question about something so personal, but it is common and effective in psychological practice. On the contrary, it lowers the threshold to answer: you don’t have to do a whole story, with all sorts of painful details, but just say one word. On the other hand, it feels less personal.
Before she started this test, some scenes made it difficult for me to watch. Especially because she is trying to have an abortion herself, which I didn’t think was okay at all. And, I mean by her own hands. If you’ve seen the movie, you probably know which scene I’m talking about. I don’t have anything against abortion for the record, but that way, it was just wrong in my eyes.
The second scene I had a hard time with was the interrogation with the movie’s title’s four answers. This time because I really felt how much inner conflict she had because of her past. Even though we didn’t know the details of it, you get an idea of what she had been through. This was also the highlight of the film, and I respect how they brought this one.
Every parent should be supportive
I understand the fear of telling your own parents. This is also something she does not tell her parents. Again, of course, we don’t know exactly why. Are they bad? Would they react badly? Are they anti-abortion?
With that said, parents need to be there for their children in this difficult period. If, as a teenager, you don’t have this, then you have to take care of yourself, but this isn’t always easy. That is why you must be open to your own children. Otherwise, you push them deeper into a pit, which was the case with this film.
It is an abortion drama in which the abortion is not the drama. The real drama is caused by all the obstacles put in front of the protagonist, the seventeen-year-old Autumn, who does not hesitate to terminate her pregnancy.