It's rare for a film to be considered essential viewing, but Eliza Hittman's Never Rarely Sometimes Always tells such an important and enlightening story that it should be used for educational purposes.

The drama follows 17-year-old Autumn Callahan (Sidney Flanigan) as she heads to a clinic in her Pennsylvania hometown and soon confirms her suspicion that she's pregnant.
After discovering she can't get an abortion in the state without parental consent, Autumn and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) take a bus to New York so she can have the procedure done at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
However, it takes longer than they anticipate, so the young girls have to spend a few days in the city with no money and nowhere to stay.

There have been many films that deal with the topic of abortion but Never Rarely Sometimes Always is on another level - it is so detailed and revolves solely around the process.
The entire film maps out what happens from start to finish, from Autumn discovering she is pregnant to undergoing the abortion, and all of the obstacles in between.
The narrative is educational, informative, and so enlightening, with it taking the audience through the steps she has to make, what types of people she has to talk to, and all of the questions she gets asked.

The subject matter is handled sensitively and with care. It feels very realistic and observational, like it could almost be a documentary.
And while the dialogue is pretty minimal and some people might find the pace too slow, that mirrors the process in Autumn's case.

Flanigan makes her acting debut with this film and her lead performance is so natural and honest throughout, but in the scene which gives the film its title, she is so moving. She also has strong support from Ryder as her supportive cousin.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always should be shown in schools for educational purposes to raise awareness about abortion because the vast majority of people won't be aware of what it entails or how time-consuming and prohibitively expensive it is in the United States. It really is powerful, important viewing.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always is available digitally in the U.K. and Ireland from 13 May and will be available on video-on-demand from 27 May.

LATEST REVIEWS