A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Appreciate those who stand by you. Be grateful for what -- and who -- you have, rather than longing for what you don't. A love of words isn't the same thing as having communication skills.
Positive Role Models
Peter and his family continue to be there for his father, despite Alan's attention being on his absentee older brother. Little diversity within the primary cast.
Violence & Scariness
Loss is a theme of the film; characters are asked to identify a body that may be that of a missing family member. Reference to online grooming of children.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In a comical moment, senior citizens wearing only towels reference having just had sex. Line about a video game character's breasts.
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Infrequent, but includes "damn," "Jesus," and "bloody."
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Products & Purchases
Primary character drives a red Triumph sports car. The game Scrabble plays a central role in the film.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinks sit in front of characters hanging out in a sitting room. A character smokes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sometimes Always Never is a quirky British "prodigal son" comedy from the point of view of the son who stayed. Some of the subject matter is mature: Decades earlier, a 19-year-old left home in a huff and disappeared, his family not knowing whether he's alive or dead. In the present, characters are asked to identify a body that may be his. But it's all played with a dry, light tone that doesn't feel too inappropriate. There's not too much iffy content, other than a bit of language (including "damn" and "bloody"), brief smoking, references to a video game character's breasts, and a funny scene in which an adult son finds his father with a woman and realizes they've just had sex (nothing graphic). The movie is based around the word game Scrabble, with the irony being that the father in the movie (Bill Nighy) raised his sons with a competitive love of words but lacks communication skills. Ultimately, the message is to appreciate those who stand by you and be grateful for what -- and who -- you have, rather than longing for what you don't. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A feisty Scrabble player may be at the heart of this British dramedy's plot, but it's a tile short of creating something noteworthy. It's just missing something -- it's simply not quite funny, compelling, or catchy enough. The issue may just be how very British it is: arid humor, stiff-upper-lip relations, and comedy beats about Pickwick's Top of the Pops albums and Marmite. While Sometimes Always Never is mostly appropriate for family viewing, teens and tweens are likely to turn to their phones in disinterest unless they're true Anglophiles.
And that's too bad, given that the movie is about a family that's bonded, for better or worse, over a board game that encourages brain sharpening. The family, including the missing Michael, shares a love of the lexicon, and the film introduces new words as well as using words in surprising ways (please, let's pick up the word "spruce" to mean looking sharp). It also encourages style: Alan is a sharp dresser who drives a stylish car, and the color schemes involve brightly colored contrasting tones. Sometimes Always Never doesn't quite come together (even the clever title doesn't totally work in relation to the story), but it holds promise. The offbeat script, finding the quiet quirkiness in mundane characters, and the strong contrasting color palette show that director Carl Hunter could be England's answer to Wes Anderson.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.