A family obsessed with Scrabble gets in a heated argument during a game over the legitimacy of a high-scoring word.
The son, Michael, storms out, never to return. It was years ago but his family still doesn’t know if Michael met with foul play or if he’s staying away by choice.
Sometimes Always Never is a whimsical movie about this family with a phenomenal vocabulary who struggle mightily to communicate.
The widower father, Alan (Bill Nighy), a tailor by trade, has searched tirelessly for Michael. His younger son Peter has always felt second best – the one his emotionally-distant father neglected while he obsessed over the missing son. But Alan needs Peter’s help and realizes that he must salvage the fractious relationship if they are to find Michael.
Alan moves into Peter’s home and, in his idiosyncratic way, tries to make amends. He ultimately does the family a service when he connects with his withdrawn grandson, schooling him in the art of snappy dressing. But he also stays up all night playing online Scrabble and becomes convinced an opponent he regularly plays against, and whose style he recognizes, is Michael. A hunt for clues begins.
Sometimes Always Never is a delightfully quirky mystery, but less a missing person story and more about the complex and broken relationship between a father and son. The premise is heavy, but the film is funny, too. Nighy, with great comedic timing, is a perfect fit for the role as the quietly heartbroken father who still looks for the humour in situations, often awkwardly. The movie will definitely be a hit with Scrabble aficionados, but it’s for everyone who loves good acting and British wit.
Sometimes Always Never plays at 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Salmar Classic Cinema.