It seems like forever since I first heard about the pro-abortion film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always. But despite the coronavirus pandemic dominating the news, the film has been both released and given a fair amount of coverage by the media.
The title of Never Rarely Sometimes Always is taken from the intake questionnaire given by a “counselor” to women at Planned Parenthood locations. It’s designed to try and get what the abortion business believes is pertinent health information, but not much counseling is actually given.
This film is about a high school teenager in Pennsylvania who finds herself pregnant and wants an abortion, which she can’t get in her state because of parental consent laws so she decides to travel to New York City with her cousin. Per Focus Features, “Written and directed by Eliza Hittman, the film is an intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) embark across state lines to New York City on a fraught journey of friendship, bravery and compassion.”
Brian Tallerico of rogerebert.com writes, “Eliza Hittman returns to Sundance with her best work yet, a powerful drama that’s mostly a character study of two fully-realized young women but also a commentary on how dangerous it is to be a teenage girl in America. With stunning performances from two completely genuine young leads, this is a movie people will talk about all year.”
The New York Times, in its article series ‘Anatomy of a Scene’ where the director describes the scene and how it was shot, sings the film’s praises. “Hittman is telling a story but she’s also making a quietly fierce argument about female sovereignty. Autumn wants to get an abortion, take control of her life and her body. But the world doesn’t make it easy (never does). She needs a clinic, money, bus tickets and the ability to get herself from one state to another and then negotiate New York City. She has to figure out the subway, dodge creeps and find one place to eat and another to sleep. (Odysseus at least had a ship.) In Never Rarely, the hurdles to an abortion are as legion as they are maddening and pedestrian, a blunt political truism that Hittman brilliantly connects to women’s fight for emancipation.”
Despite the glowing reviews and a certified fresh rating with Rotten Tomatoes (99%), the film has many morally dubious situations beyond abortion.
According to Wikipedia, the two teenagers, in addition to setting out to the Big Apple likely without their parents’ permission, steal money from work to cover the procedure and the cousin agrees to kiss a guy in order to get enough money to go back home.
This isn’t a reflection of the struggles to get an abortion in America, but a movie with a particular message about abortion access and propaganda and the injustice of any pro-life legislation.
Though I have yet to see the movie, it is currently available to rent on Amazon for a considerable fee. It doesn’t seem like a movie that would encourage smart decision making or a strong reflection on the life or death decision of abortion. We even find out later in the movie during the question/counseling session at Planned Parenthood that the main protagonist was raped. However, it appears like little is done with this revelation. There is, at least per Wikipedia, no information about whether she’s encouraged to report the crime or receives the counseling or support that she needs. Nor is it clear if the young women will have to face the consequences for stealing. If they don’t, then the film implies that abortion is a situation where stealing is justifiable. After all, the tagline for the movie is “Her Journey. Her Choice.”
Instead, the sole focus on the movie remains abortion and it is implied that different government regulations make it more difficult for the main character to kill her child. There is no mention of the dozens of pro-life pregnancy resource centers that these young, lost women could’ve encountered on the road to New York that would have given them the hope, support, resources and love they were so desperately looking for.
In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, we need more hope for women and families and not less.
Photo from YouTube