Friday, June 12, 2020

Movie with Abe: Sometimes Always Never

Sometimes Always Never
Directed by Carl Hunter
Released June 12, 2020

The games we play as children inform our perceptions of the world and the way that we interact in real life. More specifically, the games that families play together also speak to the type of people the parents are in selecting leisure activities to fill their time. If the experiences are positive, those children will pass along enthusiasm for those same games onto next generations, informing their parenting style and the lens through which they frame family time. That isn’t always the case, and children may grow up resenting the values taught to them in the course of seemingly harmless play.

Alex (Bill Nighy) has an unusual connection to the game Scrabble. His son Michael went missing years earlier after storming out while they were playing, and he splits his time between searching for him and obsessing over words to play, both online and in person with anyone he meets. His son Peter (Sam Riley) doesn’t share his warm affinity for the game, remembering that they always played off-brand versions with slightly modified boards and rules, and yearning for the day that his father will be happy enough with the son who is still right in front of him.

This film is an interesting genre hybrid, playing mostly as an awkward comedy, with an early round of nighttime Scrabble with strangers allowing Alex to show the kind of person he is, coming up with extravagant words whose meanings he claims not to know yet obviously must be founded somewhere. Peter resents him but also spends a good deal of time apologizing for his father’s behavior, something Alex is unable to recognize. This parent is far better at expressing himself through fancy language spelled out in block letters than he is at communicating with actual words.

Nighy has exactly the right temperament to play this role, making Alex just short of endearing, particularly when he shares knowledge in a way that comes off as pretentious, like his explanation of the film’s title, the rule for buttoning suits that he knows due to his profession as a tailor. Riley is, like his onscreen father, somewhat reserved, but Peter is far more aware of how his comments land with others, even if he is hopeless to couch his gut reactions to provocative statements. This film is intriguing but at the same time somewhat aimless, exploring a family trauma that continues to exist through every new word game.



Darshika said...
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Darshika said...
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