Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)

Never Rarely Sometimes poster

A pair of teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy.

SHORT VERSION

Autumn Callahan becomes pregnant and finds it difficult to get an abortion in Pennsylvania without her family knowing about her pregnancy. She and her cousin Skylar travel to New York to find a clinic that will help her. Along the way, they must deal with unwanted advances from creepy men, as well as a lack of funds or a place to stay. It is also implied that Autumn’s pregnancy was the result of a rape.

After the first part of the procedure, the girls encounter a guy they met on the bus named Jasper to help them with some money they need to get back home. He shows an interest in Skylar and gets her to let him kiss her so he can give them money, but she is uncomfortable, and Autumn stays by her side.

Autumn has her abortion after two days in the city, and the girls are finally able to go home and rest.

MEDIUM VERSION

17-year-old Autumn Callahan (Sidney Flanigan) suspects she is pregnant and goes to a crisis pregnancy center. At the center, she takes a drug store test that confirms she is pregnant. Though she immediately wants to terminate the pregnancy, she is given literature on adoption and is shown an anti-abortion video.

After realizing that she is unable to get an abortion in Pennsylvania without parental consent, she tries to induce a miscarriage by swallowing pills and punching herself in the stomach. When those methods fail she confides to her cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder), that she is pregnant. Skylar steals cash from the grocery store where they work and the two buy tickets to New York City.

On the bus, they meet Jasper, a young man who is persistently interested in Skylar even though she tries to blow him off.

At the Planned Parenthood Autumn learns that the crisis pregnancy center lied to her about how far along she was and that she was 18 weeks pregnant. Though she is still able to get an abortion she must go to a second clinic the following morning in order to have the abortion performed.

Autumn and Skylar spend an uncomfortable night riding the subway and playing games at an arcade. The following morning at the clinic Autumn learns that a second-trimester abortion is a two-day procedure and that paying for the abortion will wipe out most of her funds.

The councilor also asks her a series of questions about her sexual partners which reveal that Autumn’s partners have been physically and sexually abusive.

Out of money, Skylar realizes the two have no way of going home. As Autumn refuses to let Skylar call either of their mothers, Skylar reaches out to Jasper who takes them bowling and to karaoke. At the end of the night, Skylar asks Jasper to loan them the money for their bus tickets which he agrees to. Skylar leaves with Jasper to find an ATM and Autumn later goes looking for them and finds them kissing behind a column.

In the morning Autumn goes to her appointment and has an abortion. She and Skylar then go to a restaurant before they catch their bus where Skylar asks her questions about the procedure but Autumn remains vague.

LONG VERSION

The film starts at a high school talent show. Autumn Callahan (Sidney Flanigan) is performing a song, singing and playing her guitar. A random guy in the audience yells out, “Slut!”, and while it distracts her for a while, Autumn continues to play, earning applause and cheers from everyone else.

After the show, Autumn goes to dinner afterward with her mother (Sharon Van Etten), stepfather Ted (Ryan Eggold), cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), and younger siblings. Mrs. Callahan tells Ted to congratulate her, but he makes a snide remark that it’s hard to congratulate someone who’s always in a bad mood. Meanwhile, a boy from school sitting at a nearby table makes an obscene gesture toward Autumn. Skylar shows genuine support. After Ted begrudgingly tells Autumn she did good, she tells him to eat shit and then goes to throw water in the boy’s face.

Autumn starts to feel unwell and goes to a clinic for a test. It comes out positive, confirming she is pregnant. The doctor gives her pamphlets to consider looking into giving the child up for adoption. She then goes home and gives herself a nose piercing.

Autumn and Skylar work as cashiers at a supermarket. Skylar is continuously subjected to uncomfortable advances by older men, including one who tries to invite her to a party after she makes small talk.

Autumn goes for an ultrasound test, showing that she is about ten weeks along. After being told about adoption again, she is also asked if she has considered an abortion. Autumn asks if it’s possible, and the lady at the clinic shows her a video to try and dissuade her from going through with an abortion. Autumn later looks up abortion clinics in her area (Pennsylvania), which shows that her parents must consent before going through with the procedure. She also tries self-abortion, which includes taking specific drugs and also hitting her stomach.

At work, Autumn starts to get nauseous. Skylar follows her to the bathroom and learns that she is pregnant. When she tries to ask their boss if she can take Autumn home, the boss makes it an issue, and Autumn reluctantly stays at work. At the end of the day, while counting the money in the register, Skylar takes some money for herself and Autumn. The girls look up bus departures from Pennsylvania into New York where Autumn may have a better chance for an abortion, and they sneak out in the middle of the night to take their trip.

During their trip, an older boy named Jasper (Theodore Pellerin) starts talking to Skylar. He asks what they’re going to the city for, and she tells him it’s for family-related business. Jasper asks for her number to invite her to a party, and she gives it to him.

The girls arrive in the city and make their way to the Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn. Autumn gets a sonogram where we see bruises on her stomach. The technician tells her that she is 18 weeks along. She is also told that she must wait until the next day to get the appointment for the procedure. The girls then go around the city since they don’t have a place to stay. They ride the subway where Autumn sees a creepy man touching himself as he looks at her. They then go to an arcade where Skylar plays a dance game and Autumn plays Tic-Tac-Toe with a chicken, who actually beats her. They also end up having to clean themselves in a bathroom.

The next day, the girls walk past a group of religious marchers before heading to the clinic. Autumn meets with a counselor who tells her that she must undergo the procedure over two days. She asks Autumn several questions to begin to make sure she is safe. From Autumn’s responses, it is strongly implied that her pregnancy was the result of a possible rape, and she starts crying. She then undergoes the first part of the procedure before waiting for the next day.

When the girls try to get back home, they find that they don’t have enough money on them, and they lost their tickets and receipts. Autumn tells Skylar she can go home herself, but she chooses to stay with her cousin. Since they can’t call their parents, Skylar contacts Jasper. He goes to find them, and they accompany him downtown to get food and then to a bowling alley. Jasper gets Skylar to drink with him, while Autumn goes to the bathroom and experiences pain and bleeding. She tries to call her mom to let her know she is fine, but she can barely say anything. Autumn then goes back outside after Jasper does some karaoke and gets onstage herself.

Afterwards, Skylar asks Jasper if he can loan them a couple of bucks for the bus ride home. He asks her to go outside with him for a moment. Autumn is left alone for a while until she goes outside looking for them. She goes back into the station to find Jasper kissing Skylar, but she is visibly uncomfortable with it. Autumn holds Skylar’s hand throughout the whole thing. Jasper later gives them the money they need and goes on his way.

The girls return to the clinic the next day for the next part of the procedure. After it’s done, they go and get food and talk about how it went. They then board a bus to finally go home and rest.

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