Even now after watching so many films through the years every now and again I can still be surprised by a hidden gem. It doesn’t have to be a block buster or be littered with A-listers; it simply is a change of pace that catches our attention and charms us in the process. In my cinematic journeys I was granted a viewing of first time feature director Carl Hunter’s Sometimes Always Never starring Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Shaun of the Dead). The film follows Bill’s character Alan as he along with his son Peter try to find Michael, their son/brother who has disappeared.
The film’s story does not center on the search for Michael but rather the broken relationship between Peter and Alan. The film never really lets you “settle in” in the sense that there is always this underlying awkward tone to each scene until we reach the end. The only information we’re given about the missing Michael is that he stormed out of their home during a game of scrabble. Not having a definitive answer about Michael was OK, because I soon realized there was a larger problem not being addressed and that was between Peter and Alan. Nighy is flawless in his performance as the troubled father trying to mask his pain. The odd element of Alan’s obsession and expertise in scrabble was an amusing trait that also offered insight to the both the story and character’s personality. Alan more than once mentions it’s more of a game of the man than it is the board. Through these small revelations I can assume his proclivity in labeling everything and breaking down a board game to the point it causes an emotional breakdown were some of Alan’s less favorable traits.
The relationships were meaningful throughout and all felt like they were going through growing pains; nothing was perfect and each had its small flaws but much like reality it’s the little things that can always turn the situation. I felt Alan’s budding relationship with his teenage grandson was a small step in Alan’s rehabilitation in overcoming the pain in losing a son. Although it may not be perfect the mended relationship between Alan and Peter was also a suitable closure. The film dips in and out offering both drama and comedy so I felt it flowed very well. Hunter has a great sense in framing his scenes as they each look like a still life photo/painting akin to Wes Anderson in compositing very engaging scenes. The action scenes as well felt very much like Anderson’s work but never did I feel Hunter was imitating or copying him. Hunter also offers viewers an extremely beautiful and serene scene between father and son that had the aura of a dream. By the end of the film I felt like someone had just giving me a great big hug and I don’t know if that is relatable but if you have some time why not find out for yourself.
3 out of 5
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