Sometimes Always Never

Sometimes Always Never sets out to be quirky, but comes out dorky.  It takes pride in its uneven nuances, gushy sentimentality, and jokes about Scrabble.  What saves the mild-mannered movie to an extent, however, is how the awkwardness is (sort of) embraced through its humour.

Centred around a dysfunctional dynamic between a father, Alan (Bill Nighy), and his son, Peter (Sam Riley), Sometimes Always Never is about a journey to gratefulness.  After a long ago blow-up over a heated game of Scrabble ends with abandonment, Alan has been obsessed with locating his missing son Michael.  But, Alan’s dedication clouds his behaviour, leaving others within his proximity feeling useless.  Nighy and Riley have decent chemistry.  At the very least, you believe Peter’s embarrassed distain towards Alan on their road trip to find Michael.  But, the film these actors are showcased in doesn’t feel satisfied or cohesive enough. 

Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions, The Railway Man) is so hung up on “feel-good” qualities, the distraction prevents him from exploring his characters.  Stylistic spurts from director Carl Hunter try to compensate for the shabby script, but the hodgepodge of competing visuals lack a distinct root to the story.  The messy results reminded me of how much I appreciate the consistent simplicity of Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, a brilliant family dramedy that undoubtably buries this one.

Scrabble enthusiasts in the audience will be amused by inside jokes referring to the gameplay but, otherwise, Sometimes Always Never doesn’t have much to offer.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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