After she won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival last month, writer/director Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” finally comes to U.S. theaters on March 13. The abortion drama first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where it won the bespoke U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Neorealism — which this realistic movie is in spades. The final trailer for the film has arrived, courtesy of Focus Features. Watch below.
Playing out almost like a road movie, the film is an intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support — including a local clinic that all but traumatizes her with anti-abortion scare tactics — Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) embark across state lines to New York City on a fraught journey. Complications arise that force Autumn and Skylar to stay longer in the city than intended, and without a place to crash. In its depiction of young women fighting against bureaucracy and toxic men, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” hits hard.
Hittman has been steadily crafting intimate coming-of-age stories for more than a decade. Her first feature, “A Lot Like Love,” stormed Park City in 2013, followed by 2017’s coming-out drama “Beach Rats” with Harris Dickinson. She’s since directed episodes of the HBO series “High Maintenance,” and for Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why.”
“I don’t think I make crowd-pleasing Grand Jury Prize movies,” Hittman told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson at the Berlinale. “Everything I do is a little off to the side. I didn’t come here with any expectations. Juries are always wildly unpredictable. I did not make the movie to preach to the choir either. This is an art film, but I knew at some point we would be met with people with different ideas about women’s reproductive rights. I didn’t expect it to be the head of the Berlinale jury!”
The title of the movie comes from an intimate questionnaire that Autumn must answer as she prepares to get an abortion, revealing buried scars that the film smartly leaves contained to that moment. “It’s meant to open up a dialogue, giving people a spectrum to reply, a way of getting to something deeper,” Hittman said. “There was something about the lyrical repetition of those words that stuck with me. It was painful and intimate.”
Read IndieWire’s rave review of “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” out of the Sundance Film Festival here. Watch the new trailer below.