Story

In Sometimes Always Never, Alan (Bill Nighy) lives with the sadness of losing his son Michael. Michael left home one day in a bad mood and hasn’t been seen since. Alan’s other son Peter (Sam Riley), now grown up, shares his father’s grief and finds it hard to talk with his father about it. Alan’s wife died early, leaving Alan to raise the children alone.

Since Michael went missing, Alan has spent every day searching for him. When Alan and Peter hear that a body has been found, they visit the morgue to see whether it’s Michael. They declare it isn’t. Also at the morgue are Margaret (Jenny Agutter) and her husband Arthur (Tim McInnerny), whose son Neville has been missing for some time too. Like Alan and Peter, they’ve suffered greatly because of their loss.

Alan moves in temporarily with Peter, his wife Sue (Alice Lowe), and their son Jack (Louis Healey). Alan has a good relationship with Jack, who lets Alan sleep in his bunk and take over his computer (at great personal sacrifice). Alan loves to play online Scrabble and has started to believe that he’s actually playing with his long-lost son Michael. He arranges to meet up with this mysterious player, but things don’t go exactly as planned. He does, however, find the son who stayed behind.

Themes

Loss of a child; loss of a parent; single parenting.

Violence

There is no violence of concern in Sometimes Always Never.

Sexual references

Sometimes Always Never has some sexual references. For example:

  • Alan asks why Jack is using a girl as an avatar in his computer game. He asks whether it’s the avatar with the big cleavage/large breasts/bosoms/bazookas. Jack replies that the game has sexual equality and is gender neutral.
  • Jack plays Scrabble with his girlfriend Rachel. Words on the board include ‘romantic’ and ‘erotic’.

Margaret talks about a 14-year-old girl who was groomed online by an older man. Peter says that no-one’s been sexually grooming his father.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Sometimes Always Never has several characters who smoke.

Nudity and sexual activity

Sometimes Always Never has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, Alan comes out of Peter’s bathroom wrapped in a towel. Margaret follows him out, and she’s also wrapped in a towel. Peter asks whether they’ve had sex in his bed. Alan responds that they couldn’t have sex in the bunk bed.

Product placement

There is no product placement in Sometimes Always Never.

Coarse language

Sometimes Always Never has some mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Sometimes Always Never is a tragic drama with lighter moments that provide some humour and relief. It’s quite slow moving and isn’t likely to hold children’s attention or interest. The movie’s subject matter also makes it unsuitable for children.

The main message from this movie is to appreciate what you have rather than to mourn constantly for what you’ve lost.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the importance of family.

Sometimes Always Never could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like the effect on the whole family when one family member goes missing.