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Laramie Movie Scope:
Never Rarely Sometimes Always

An intense look at a woman's abortion journey

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 2, 2021 – The film opens with high school musical performances, including one by Autumn Callahan (played by Sidney Flanigan of “My Twin is Dead”) who sings the Eleanor Greenwich/Tony Powers song, “He's Got the Power.” She sings, “He makes me do things I don't want to do ... He's got the power, the power of love over me.”

The significance of this song, which is interrupted by a man from the audience yelling “Slut!” at her (with little reaction from anyone in the audience) is not demonstrated until near the end of the film. Her true situation is finally revealed in a scene with an abortion counselor who asks Autumn questions, which she must answer with one of four categorical responses which are, never, rarely, sometimes or always. Her emotion-filled responses are very revealing.

Autumn's relationship with her mother and especially with her father, are very tense. She is deeply troubled and unhappy. Soon, it becomes clear that she pregnant, and that she is determined to take care of the situation herself.

Fortunately, she does get some help from her cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder) who works with her at a grocery store. Skyler steals money from the store to pay for their bus tickets from Philadelphia to New York to get an abortion. She could not get an abortion, as a 17-year-old in Pennsylvania, without parental consent.

Once the two get to New York, they find out that getting an abortion is far more time-consuming and difficult than they thought it would be, taking days instead of hours, and costing far more than they thought it would.

Autumn turns down an offer of a place to stay, which puts her and Skyler in danger. Skyler reaches out to a man she met on the trip, Jasper (Théodore Pellerin of “Boy Erased”) for help. Jasper is attracted to Skyler during a chance encounter and he texts her an invitation to meet with him. He does give the women the money they need, but he also extracts a romantic favor in return. Both women are familiar with such exchanges at work.

The two women have no place to stay in New York City and the sense of danger and uncertainty generated in this film is palpable. As I mentioned earlier, the abortion interview with a social worker at the abortion clinic is the emotional climax of the film. Sidney Flanigan's performance, ably backed by the supporting actors, is very powerful.

This film is very emotionally intense, and parts of it were very hard for me to watch. Kudos to director Eliza Hittman (“Beach Rats”) for her mastery of suspense, as well as the other intense emotions invoked by the film. The story is about a perilous, emotionally devastating journey. In the end, Autumn is finally able to relax and sleep, but one gets the feeling that her emotional journey is still far from over. This film rates an A.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2021 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]