Coming to Virtual Release from director Carl Hunter and Blue Fox Entertainment comes a story about SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER.
Alan (Bill Nighy) is widowed tailor and a bit of an eccentric who is taking a road trip with son Peter (Sam Riley) to discover whether Alan’s other son Michael has finally been found. Disappearing after a tough game of scrabble, the years have been difficult for father and son Peter.
It isn’t as if Alan has made it easy on anyone really, Peter has been feeling the emotional pinch for more years than he can count. Now married to Sue (Alice Lowe) with his own son Jack (Louis Healy), there is a new disconnect.
When the road trip does not work out, other than Alan meeting Margaret (Jenny Agutter) and Arthur (Tim McInnerny), Alan decides to spend time at Peter’s house. Much to the dismay of Jack who must share his bunkbed set with grandpa, everyone is walking on eggshells.
Sue tells Peter that their son Jack has a bit of a crush on a girl two bus stops down and Jack is discovering that grandpa Alan might have a thing or two to teach him about the family and dressing snappy to get the girl.
All the while Alan is playing a game on the internet that leads him to believe that Michael is on the other end and reaching out. But when Alan goes missing, Peter is pushed to his limits.
This is a perfectly dysfunctional family that has more issues than a magazine rack!
Nighy has Alan is, as always, impeccable as this character. Calling for Alan to be a bit quirky and very, very smart – the film succeeds because of this talented and amazing actor. I have always enjoyed Nighy and the roles he chooses, and the last few years have continually proven his has it! His fearlessness makes me laugh, gives me heart squeezes and makes me listen to ever word whatever character he plays has to say. As Alan, he gives us all these qualities and gives it well.
Riley as Peter is a son who has lived in the shadow of a brother labeled the “prodigal son” for so long he just does not know who he is in the world. Son, husband, father – it is all blurred and giving him to much reason to be angry at Alan. His own silence has transferred to Jack and yet he does not see it, that is how powerful being angry at a past can be. Riley does such an amazing job and bouncing off of Nighy isn’t as easy as it might look, but Riley gives it an exceptional shot and wins!
Healy as Jack is what I would consider a casualty of Alan and Peter’s pain. He has grown into a young man that understands it is not good explaining things to his father and he does not even know his grandfather Alan – yet. The growth between the elder and grandson is so endearing and as a grandma I get it clearly.
Lowe as Sue actually likes Alan and has no problem with him staying with them for a bit. As much as Peter pushes away, it is Sue who doesn’t go along with husbands’ complaints. Agutter as Margaret has the same issues with a missing son as Alan but deals with them in a different way, much to the dismay of Peter.
Other cast include Ella-Grace Gregoire as Rachel, Alexei Sayle as Bill, Oliver Sincup as Young Peter, and Alan Williams as the Desk Officer.
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SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER is a sly look at family dysfunction when things are not said out loud. Father and son spend a lot of time being snarky with one another in an attempt to illicit a reaction to what the real problem is – brother Michael.
They have spent so much time not talking about it that the silence is at ear piercing decibels! Rather than talk it out and sharing how one person could walk away from a scrabble game, instead the trait of “no talking” has transferred onto Peter’s son Jack and a new generation is not talking.
The reconnect is between grandpa Alan and grandson Jack who has only heard about how unhappy his father Peter is with their relationship. So, it’s back to muttering, one-word answers or hiding up in a bedroom behind a computer screen.
That is not all too far from away many people see their family life and SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER is a look at that in your face. Yes, it is quirky, lovely, and very funny all wrapped up in an insightful story.
In the end – sometimes it is hard to find the right words.