This Week in Cinemas: Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Sidney Flanigan appears in Never Rarely Sometimes Always by Eliza Hittman, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Fridays are days when cinemas come alive with new releases and weekend crowds in search of the next blockbusters. April continues to replace the first Friday in May as the start of the summer blockbuster onslaught.

That’s before the spread of COVID-19 and the closing of 5,400-plus cinemas in the United States due to social distancing and shelter at home policies.

In the time of Corona, our smart devices are creating virtual cinemas where we shelter in at home.

Movie ticket apps like Fandango are transforming into content platforms for at-home streams from Trolls World Tour to Sonic the Hedgehog and Artemis Fowl.

Until theaters reopen with blockbusters in June, movie fans can recreate the opening weekend experience on sofas, inside bedrooms, and alongside standing desks. Make sure to add concession-worthy candy and popcorn to your online grocery orders.

The week’s major art house release belongs to Never Rarely Sometimes Always from filmmaker Eliza Hittman.

The Sundance hit is a pro-choice drama rich in emotional drama and impact. Two teenage girls from rural Pennsylvania, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan), and her cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder), travel to New York City for necessary medical care due to an unintended pregnancy. Autumn and Skylar have little money and no support. When medical care takes longer than anticipated, Autumn and Skylar rely on courage and street smarts to survive.

Hittman delivers an exceptional indie drama with Never Rarely Sometimes Always. The storytelling is honest, grounded, and riveting. Cinematographer Helene Louvart creates images of beautiful grit in scenes of late-night subway rides, naps on Port Authority benches, and inexpensive meals at Chinatown bakeries.

Most importantly, Hittman leads her lead actresses, Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder, to standout performances. Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a character drama as much as a socio-political tale. Flanigan and Ryder are on-screen in just about every scene of the movie. They grab hold of their spotlight opportunities and make Hittman’s film an arthouse drama to celebrate.

Focus Features delivers the film to home on-demand on Friday, April 3.

Are you sharing your streaming tips to former office mates, friends, and family? It’s a fun way to connect with fellow movie fans in the time of Corona. It’s also a chance to advocate an overlooked movie.

My choice? Head to Amazon Prime to world master Werner Herzog collaborating with his quintessential star Klaus Kinski on a remake of the 1922 vampire movie Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. In the visually stunning film, Nosferatu (Kinski) spreads the Black Plague across Europe. That plot item makes Nosferatu a compelling choice for the time of Corona. Isabelle Adjani co-stars as Lucy Harker, the object of the vampire’s affection.

The 19th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival turns virtual April 15. Look for select programming online, including Tribeca’s Immersive’s Cinema360 on Oculus TV, Oculus Go, and Oculus Quest. Let’s come together on April 15 for a virtual festival and support Tribeca’s innovative creators and storytellers.

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