- Sometimes Always Never
- Directed by Carl Hunter
- Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce
- Starring Bill Nighy, Sam Riley and Alice Lowe
- Classification PG
- 91 minutes
Anyone who’s played it knows that Scrabble can make or break a family. And in the case of director Carl Hunter’s Sometimes Always Never, it somehow manages to do both.
After Alan’s (Bill Nighy) son Michael walks out in the midst of a Scrabble-related argument, never to be seen again, Alan and his youngest son Peter (Sam Riley) must team up to identify a body and subsequently survive the tsunami of emotions that tend to accompany loaded familial dynamics. Fortunately, Hunter uses the story of a Scrabble-obsessed man – who believes the game can locate his lost child – as a vehicle for humour, terrific onscreen chemistry, and warm, believable performances by the likes of Nighy, Riley and Jenny Agutter (whose character trajectory I will not spoil for you).
The film is also peppered with animation, mid-century kitsch and a touch of whimsy, making Sometimes Always Never seem more like an intimate stage production than an exercise in cinematic self-seriousness. (Because let’s face it: it’d be easy for a plot like this to seem very grisly or heavy-handed.)
It’s no real murder-mystery, but it does pose questions that transcend who did what to whom and when. One of which being whether or not you can really play “jazz” in Scrabble.
Sometimes Always Never opens Oct. 4