Sometimes Always Never 2019 ***

Big-name writer Frank Cottrell Boyce adapting his own short story is the selling point here. Sometimes Always Never is about Alan, a widowed Scrabble-obsessed grandpa (Bill Nighy) who ignores his son Peter (Sam Reilly),  Peter’s wife Sue (Alice Lowe) and his grandchild. The reason for his neglect is that Alan is obsessed by his other son, who has been missing for years after walking out on a game of Scrabble. Father and son go to view and potentially identify a dead body, leading Alan to have an affair with Jenny Agutter under the nose of her husband (Tim McInnery). Alan is also playing Scrabble online with a mysterious man; could this be the missing son? The original title, Triple Word Score, makes more sense that the one used here, which relates to the buttons on a man’s suit and when you should button them. This simple narrative might have worked as s short story, but it feels more like an afternoon radio play than a film. That said, Nighy is always good, and has plenty to get his teeth into for once, and it’s nice to see him playing a real person and not phoning it in as a vampire overlord. The wistful, melancholic air is pervasive, and while slight, Sometimes Always Never is the kind of tiny, but mature and worthwhile film that’s worth highlighting.


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