Review by John Delia
A British humor film titled Sometimes Always Never is a bit dull for us Americans for about the first 15 minutes until you get used to their dry banter and silly antics. Itâ€™s the type of comedy that may seem uninviting, but as this drama plays out the wisdom, warmth of family and heartfelt feeling, it grabs hold and never lets go to the final curtain. Some may see themselves in the characters and maybe wish they had made a few different decisions in life, while others could see the error in their ways when dealing with their children.
Alan Mellor (Bill Nighy) has found himself in a quandary for months turning into years looking for his son Michael who left home one night after a disagreement during a scrabble game. Every time he hears about a young man being found dead, he calls his other son Peter (Sam Riley) to go with him to identify the body in case it is Michael. Each occasion finds Alan getting sadder and his hopefulness of Michael returning someday dwindles. In the meantime, Peter knows in his heart that it will never happen for his dad, but he goes along with the charade.
Director Carl Hunter moves the film along at a slow and steady pace feeding more and more of Alanâ€™s inner hurt while heâ€™s hiding it in front of the world around him. He shows the son Peterâ€™s family as a well-adjusted unit with a coming of age teen who has become very fond of his grandfatherâ€™s stories and devotion to the game of scrabble. With the use of some cardboard cutout blue screen filming, Hunter makes the story about real life decisions and their challenges realistic and entertaining.
The acting by Bill Nighy as the father whoâ€™s at a loss with not finding his son, is very good. He shows the hurt inside, but never on the outside where heâ€™s the life of the party. In some instances heâ€™s the family pillar giving Peterâ€™s son advice and Peterâ€™s wife a chance to let out her feelings.
In support Sam Riley gives the performance of his life as Peter who has been living in the shadow of his brother. While he knows his father shows preferences for his older brother, he still keeps the hurt inside and joins his dad on the trek to find the family runaway. But, deep down he has hope that dad will accept him for who he is. As the film enters the finale we start to see a change in Alan and the love between he and Peter comes off the screen in a heartfelt kind of way that makes the film a winner.
Sometimes Always Never has been rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual references. It is available on VOD
FINAL ANALYSIS: If you like British â€œdramedyâ€ this is your cup of tea. (3.5 out of 5 stars)
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Bill Nighy, Sam Riley, Alice Lowe, Jenny Agutter, Tim McInnerny
Directed by: Carl Hunter
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual references
Running Time: 1 hr. 31 min.
Opening Date: July 10, 2020
Distributed by: Blue Fox Entertainment
Released in: VOD