Tag Archives: Beach Rats (Hittman)


NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS is Eliza Hittman’s third cinéma vérité feature, starring Sidney Flanigan as a young woman from rural Pennsylvania traveling to New York City for an abortion.

The film screened earlier this month at a Film Independent Presents event in Culver City, and is now playing in Hollywood and on the Westside, opening next week in Pasadena.

The spark for my new film came in 2012, when a woman named Savita Halappanavar died of blood poisoning in a hospital in Galway after being refused a life-saving abortion. Out of devastation, I naively began to research the history of abortion rights in Ireland. In a country where abortion was criminalized, I became fascinated to learn that women who needed abortions were forced to travel from Ireland to England. 
I began to read more and more about Ireland’s hidden diaspora and saw a compelling untold narrative about ‘women on the run’ traveling with the unbearable burden of shame. These migratory abortion trails also exist within our own country from rural areas with limited and restrictive access, past state lines and into progressive cities. Through extensive research and interviews over several years I developed this script. After premiering Beach Rats at Sundance in 2017 and following the inauguration of Trump, I felt an urgent need to make this film now. The fate of a woman’s fundamental right to access is at risk. If Roe v. Wade is attacked and abortion made illegal nationwide, how far will we have to travel?
Savita Halappanavar’s death revolutionized Ireland. It unified feminist groups throughout the country and galvanized a movement to reverse the cruel Eighth Amendment that recognizes the life of a mother and a fetus as being equal. They were activated because her identity was not anonymous. She had a name, a face, a warm smile that the country could feel and mourn. The abortion ban was historically repealed last May. 
 Amidst such a fraught moment in U.S. history, it’s hard not to ask myself how I am doing in my artistic practice can create change. Women’s issues are global issues. By taking a social and political issue and demonstrating its impact on one individual or character, my goal is to find ways to get past our audiences’ defenses against this stigmatized subject and open people up to confronting difficult realities. 
 As an extension of my body of work, the film balances realism and lyricism, beauty and horror, fear and hope. It is infused with intimacy, discomfort, tension and truth. It will ignite controversy and conversation. Never Rarely Sometimes Always is ultimately a story about resistance and will perhaps even inspire change.Eliza Hittman


Now Playing.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

The Landmark

10850 Pico Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020), from top: Sidney Flanigan; Flanigan; U.S. poster; Talia Ryder and Théodore Pellerin; Flanigan. Photographs by Angal Field, images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, the photographer, and Focus Features.


Harris Dickinson—fresh from his Beach Rats and Trust triumphs—returns to Outfest in the very stylish drama POSTCARDS FROM LONDON (think Caravaggio meets Pink Narcissus), where he joins a troupe of erudite, art-loving hustlers.

POSTCARDS FROM LONDON marks the return of writer-director Steve McLean, whose last film was Postcards from America, the 1994 feature based on the writings of David Wojnarowicz.


Friday, July 20, at 8:30 pm.

Ford Amphitheatre

2580 Cahuenga Boulevard East, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.

Harris Dickinson in Postcards from London, from top: center foreground; above; and below second from left.


Like Frankie in Eliza Hittman’s revelatory Beach Rats, Johnny (Josh O’Connor)—a West Yorkshire shepherd in Francis Lee’s bracing new film GOD’S OWN COUNTRY—is a sullen, self-destructive, working-class youth, fully aware of his same-sex desires, and determined to satisfy them free of any emotional (or political) commitment. Johnny’s pattern is fairly typical: rough assignations in bathrooms by day, followed by nightly beer-soaked binges. Whether he makes it to his bed, or passes out in a pasture, he manages to get up every morning to feed the sheep on his family’s farm.

Enter itinerant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), newly arrived from Romania. Hired to muck out the barn (and forced to suffer, up to a point, Johnny’s characteristic abuse and ignorance), Gheorghe has a tender touch with animals and in the kitchen. An inevitable physical confrontation between the two young men triggers a frisson of recognition, and Johnny’s emotional armor begins to crack.

Acclaimed at its local premiere at Outfest 2017—and hailed in its home country as the first pro-Europe film, post-Brexit—GOD’S OWN COUNTRY is now playing in West Hollywood, Pasadena, San Francisco, and Manhattan.


GOD’S OWN COUNTRY, now playing.

AMC DINE-IN SUNSET, 8000 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood.


LAEMMLE PLAYHOUSE, 673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.


OPERA PLAZA, 601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco.


IFC CENTER, 323 Sixth Avenue, at West 3rd Street, New York City.


See Colin Crummy, “God’s Own Country is an Optimistic Addition to the Queer Cinematic Canon,” i-D, August 21, 2017:


Alec Secareanu (with beard) and Josh O’Connor in God’s Own Country (2017). Image credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Tough love: Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) pins down Johnny (Josh O’Connor)




In Eliza Hittman’s BEACH RATS, Frankie is a strapping, emotionally detached 19-year-old. When he’s not playing handball or cruising Coney Island for chicks and kicks with his crew, he’s in his mother’s basement, trawling the web for hookups with older men. Committed to little except the drift of a summer’s day, he tells more than one trick, “I don’t know what I like.”

Like a fevered dream by Samuel Delany come to cinematic life, Hittman’s new film—a follow-up to her directorial debut It Felt Like Love—continues her investigation into the social and sexual self-representation of outer-borough youth in New York City.* Harris Dickinson—London-born and -trained—gives a breakout performance as Brooklyn boy Frankie.

“During his audition, I asked Harris to take off his shirt. I was taken aback by [the perfection of] his body. It sounds weird to say this, but I thought his body might be a drawback for the film. I envisioned the character being more normal. Our French DP [Hélène Louvart] said, ‘This body is no good.’ [laughs] I asked Harris why he worked out so much. He said, ‘Well, you know, I was a heavy kid.’ Then I knew he could be Frankie, who also has a lot of armor around him.” — Eliza Hittman, during the post-Outfest screening Q & A for BEACH RATS, July 9, 2017.


Now playing.


Friday, August 25, at 7:30 pm.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.



Saturday, August 26, at 7:15 pm.

Landmark Sunshine

143 East Houston Street, New York City.



Sunday, August 27, at 4:30 pm.

Francesca Beale Theater, Lincoln Center

144 West 65th Street, New York City.

*See Samuel R. Delany, “In the Valley of the Nest of Spiders,” Black Clock 7 (2007): 116–134.

From top: Harris Dickinson in Beach Rats, ; far right; middle, on a date with Madeline Weinstein (left); left with anonymous trick; film poster; upper right; videotaping himself in front of basement mirror. Images courtesy the filmmaker and Neon.