Sometimes Always Never Review – Quirky, Heartfelt, Genuine

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Sometimes Always Never, from Blue Fox Entertainment, presents the story of detachment, of estrangements, of hope, as a family continues to search for a son gone missing, and believe their quirky attachment to Scrabble is key to finding him.


Directed by Carl Hunter, Sometime Always Never stars Bill Nighy, Sam Riley, Alice Lowe, Jenny Agutter, Tim McInnerny, Louis Healy, and Ella Grace Gregoire.

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The film begins with Alan, played by Bill Nighy, standing alone on the shoreline looking out over the ocean. Taking a call, we understand he is waiting for his son, Peter, played by Sam Riley. While he waits, he walks along the promenade, begins a quirky conversation, and again an uncomfortable response, from the disinterested. He hands out leaflets to people, who look, pause, pass it to another and then return.

Soon Peter arrives and the two are off. The two, typical father and son, are debating over the minor issues, music, moments of awkward silence, too much time online, as Alan an avid Scrabble player seems obsessed with the game and even plays on his phone.

Alan is in search of his missing son, Michael. The two had a falling out over a game a Scrabble years ago and he walked out the door and never returned. We find, as the story continues, that members of the missing generation are many, with nearly every encounter in the film, someone shares a similar story.


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Now he is waiting, with his son Peter in the lobby of some unusual hotel striking up a conversation with two strangers about Scrabble. Soon the three of them are playing and each coming up with peculiar, eccentric, and odd words, and like true wordsmiths and scrabble aficionados they pull out the dictionary and are soon looking up the words, on the pages and not electronically.

Waiting in the Coroner's office, the couple, played by Jenny Agutter and Tim McInnerny, are also waiting as they also received the call that a body that fits the description of their missing son had been found.

In a moment of heated exchange with Peter, Alan just says it, "my only fear is dying before I can figure this out." His son, different than the loss of a brother, is out there somewhere, maybe dead, or maybe just estranged, either way he wants to find out.

Throughout this time, he is trying to repair his relationship with, Peter, who along with his wife, Sue, played by Alice Lowe, and their son Jack, played by Louis Healy, are finding it hard to understand why the two don't seem to care about each other.


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We find the motivation for the continued lifelong interest in Scrabble is twofold, it was the game they were playing when Michael stormed out and Alan believes the key to finding him lies in continuing to play. He finds a mystery player, Skinny Thesaurus, online, who uses the same words, appears to have they same style of gamesmanship as his lost son and is sure it is him.

We don't find out until the end of the film, that he has been silently tracking the location through GPS signals and marking the map and is planning to meet up with the mystery player.

Sometimes Always Never begins slow and adds elements of surrealism, and even comical overlay to a story that is heartfelt, dramatic, and painful.

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The set design is unusual and continues to help develop the characters personalities, and mood enhancing coloring utilizing bold, blocks of cool blues and sunlight yellows.

The performances were multi-faceted, carrying on with the brave face, while the hurt, fear, concern is too devastating to allow to surface, and finding a way to allow small bits of genuine feelings to escape, through the humor, knowing that is the surge of emotions ever crested it could cause irreversible hurt.

Sometime Always Never, a cross generational family film, mixes old with the new, technology and board games, an actual dictionary and its computer counterpart, and while never actually explaining the complexities of life manages to roll with them with hope for tomorrow.

Sometime Always Never opens online Friday June 12, 2020. See it if you can.

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