There’s no denying Bill Nighy is one of the most charismatic, lovable actors appearing on-screen today.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his latest effort gets by simply on Nighy’s breezy, whimsical performance. But I’m happy to say Sometimes, Always, Never may succeed because of Nighy, but it exceeds expectations due to a wholesome script.
Frank Cottrell Boyce — known for more serious fare like The Railway Man and Danny Boyle’s Millions — flexes his comedic muscles here in this dramedy about a Scrabble-obsessed old man who ventures to find his grown son, who ran away from home years prior.
There’s a sensitivity to this mystery story, and the characters ring true and fully realized. That Nighy’s character Alan had a son leave to get away from him doesn’t make him a bad man. The script doesn’t allow for black-and-white depictions. This film, like life, is complicated.
Sam Riley is a joy as Alan’s other son, Peter. He will forever be the underappreciated one, even if he is the one who stayed. The interplay with Nighy and Riley is fantastic, but the best scenes come from young Louis Healey, who seems to have a joy playing Nighy’s grandson.
This was a real gem at the festival, and I count myself lucky to have seen this debut feature from Carl Hunter.