Australian Council on Children and the Media

Sometimes Always Never

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Not recommended under 13; parental guidance to 15 (Adult themes and lack of interest for younger viewers).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Sometimes Always Never
  • a review of Sometimes Always Never completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 March 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to adult themes and lack of interest.
Children over the age of 13 Parental guidance is recommended due to adult themes.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Sometimes Always Never
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and sexual references
Length 87 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Alan (Bill Nighy) lives with the sadness of losing his son Michael who left the house one night in a bad mood and was never seen again. Alan’s other son Peter (Sam Riley), now grown up, also shares the grief in losing his brother and finds it difficult to communicate with his father about it (their mother died early on and Alan was left to raise the children).  From the day Michael went missing, Alan has spent every day searching for him. When news of a dead body being found reaches them, Alan and Peter visit the morgue to see if it is Michael. He declares it isn’t him. Also present at the morgue are Margaret (Jenny Agutter) and husband Arthur (Tim McInnerny) to see if it is their son Neville who’s also been missing for some time. They have both obviously suffered greatly too with their loss.

Alan moves in temporarily with Peter and his wife Sue (Alice Lowe) and their son Jack (Louis Healey). He has a good relationship with his grandson who lets him sleep in his bunk and take over his computer (at great personal sacrifice). Alan loves to play scrabble online and has developed the belief that he is 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.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

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

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is no violence of concern in this movie.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • Although there is very little that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, parents should be aware that there is a major theme in this film of death and loss as well as some emotional scenes (see section below, 8-13, for further detail).

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

  • Although there is very little that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, parents should be aware that there is a major theme in this film of death and loss as well as some emotional scenes (see section below for further detail).

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

There are some scenes in this movie that could disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Alan is obviously very distressed by losing Michael, as are Margaret and Arthur about losing their son.
  • Peter is also sad about losing his brother, but also distressed that his father is more intent on looking for Michael than he is about him and his family. Alan often seems vague and disconnected with what’s going on.
  • Peter talks about how Michael watched his mother die which made him very angry with life.
  • Margaret bursts into tears when she sees a photo of Michael.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Some children in this age group could also be disturbed by the theme of the movie, particularly if similar events have occurred in their lives.

Product placement

  • There is no product placement noted in this film.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Alan questions why Jack is using a girl as an avatar in his computer game. He asks if it’s the one 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.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Alan appears out of Peter’s bathroom wrapped in a towel. Margaret follows him out also wrapped in a towel. Peter asks if they’ve had sex in his bed to which Alan responds that they couldn’t have sex in the bunk bed.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Several people smoke.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Bloody
  • My God
  • Jesus

In a nutshell

Sometimes Always Never is a tragic drama with lighter moments that provide some humour and relief. It is quite slow moving and due to its subject is not suitable for younger children and is not likely to hold their attention or interest. It will appeal to teens and adults.

The main message from this movie is to appreciate what we have got rather than to continually mourn for that which is lost.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The importance of family

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The effect on all members of a family when one goes missing.

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