Planned Parenthood was an important part of my young life. This was the place my mother took me to get educated about birth control options. It was a safe space which provided many mothers and daughters with the opportunity to make an informed decision about having safe sex.
In recent years, our government has shut down many Planned Parenthood locations around that country along with a plethora of abortion clinics. If a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy, in some instances, one would be required to travel several states.
Trust and believe that ANY woman coming to an abortion conclusion is not a decision that was made lightly. Some have been raped. Some do not possess financially sound lives to welcome an additional family member. Some simply are not mentally prepared to be a mother and some simply feel as though they can’t proceed through life with another mouth to feed. Whatever the case, when you cross the picket lines and hit that threshold there is no going backwards.
As recent as last week, The Supreme Court justices weighed in on a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. A federal judge found that just one of Louisiana’s three abortion clinics would remain open if the law is allowed to take effect and the clinic in Shreveport at the heart of the case reportedly transferred just four patients to a hospital out of roughly 70,000 it has treated over 23 years. So, Eliza Hittman’s film couldn’t have come at a better time in America.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always. These are words any young girl or woman has heard inside the examination room of a clinic. Not just any clinic…an abortion clinic. Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) is a stoic teen cashier in a rural Pennsylvania supermarket who has suddenly found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy. Since abortion procedures in the state of Pennsylvania require parental knowledge and support, Autumn and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) snatch some cash and board a bus headed to New York City. Once they arrive these two young ladies experience a few days that neither will forget any time soon.
Writer-director Eliza Hittman uncomfortably, yet masterfully creates a a whole narrative through gestures and details making subtext just as vital as the written dialogue. Shot on 16mm film, Cinematographer Hélène Louvart captures Flanigan and Ryder, in intimate extremes close-ups accentuating the complexity of their minimalist, understated emotional performances. with a fearlessly story of a how. a teenage girl makes a massive journey emerging in a tale of reclaiming her body and her spirit.
Eliza Hittman’s direction of the film shook me to my core and her commitment to getting every detail in its precision nuance is impressive and extremely respectful to the thousands of women who may or may not have come out on the other side of an abortion ordeal mentally and physically intact.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a must-see film. Whether you are pro-choice, pro-life, a daughter, friend or parent you will leave theaters will some definitive emotions, opinions and a better understanding of how incredibly complex this issue is. Judge for yourself when it hits via Premium VOD from Focus Features on Friday, April 3rd.
In the meantime, take a listen to the heartfelt, in-depth interview with director Eliza Hittman.