Sometimes Always Never: Review – Alan (Bill Nighy) and Peter (Sam Reily) are father and son, looking for Peter’s long-lost brother, Michael who stormed out one day after a game of Scrabble and never returned. After getting a tip off on a body, they go to the police station to identify the body and hope that it isn’t Michael.
However, Alan is convinced that he’s playing Scrabble online with his long-lost son, he just has to try and find a way to prove it. Along the way they meet a couple; Arthur (Tim McInnerney) and Margaret (Jenny Agutter) who have a similar connection and are looking for someone they lost a long time ago.
Sometimes Always Never is the directorial debut of Carl Hunter, taking the story from Frank Cottrell Boyce’s original short story and who also wrote the screenplay. Set somewhere in Liverpool, all the cast who are usually known for their middle-class English accents manage to take their voices a bit further north and thankfully they all do suitably well without feeling like they’ve been overegged or exaggerated.
In fact, a cameo later on in the film (no spoilers) shows exactly how a true Liverpudlian should speak which also contrasts the more muted and carefully spoken members of the rest of the cast. Always Sometimes Never also plays a lot like a game of Scrabble, gently paced and giving its audience time to think and wonder what the film’s next move will be.
Although billed in the mystery genre, Sometimes Always Never often says something when it’s not using any words at all. There’s also a particularly dry sense of humour running throughout the film which may not impress those looking for a laugh out loud comedy, but for those who can catch it, the script is far wittier and the dialogue sounds more natural than most films that try too hard to make its audience laugh.
Sometimes Always Never is not just about Scrabble, it’s not just about family and loss and grief, but it’s about letting go which most of the characters need to do whether they realise it or not.
A very British comedy that may be most appreciated by the British and maybe even more so further up north, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
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