By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

There are never, ever any easy answers to the questions teenage pregnancy poses, especially when such pregnancy occurs as the result of abuse. Writer/director Eliza Hittman presents this troubling dilemma to her audiences in this heartbreaking and powerful film. Hittman delivers a gut-wrenching and stressful movie that follows a high school girl, as she desperately seeks out a difficult and emotionally charged remedy for her troubles. The writer/ director does a mostly tremendous job of presenting this tormenting story of a young woman courageously fighting for her herself amongst adversity of various kinds.

Sidney Flannigan stars as Autumn, a Pennsylvanian high school teen whose recent ailments reveal an unwanted pregnancy. Given the circumstances of said pregnancy, Autumn and her close cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) travel to New York in hopes of getting the pregnancy terminated. As both Autumn and Skylar face obstacles along the way, Autumn must face the realities surrounding her pregnancy must honestly face the ugly truths behind it all.

Going into this film I knew that it would not be a comfortable journey. However, I feel it is a bold and much needed exercise that everyone should experience. Through both her writing and direction, Eliza Hittman has made a powerful statement with this film. At the same time, I feel that the abrupt ending without a definite resolution fails to stick the landing. Nevertheless, I have never seen any other film tackle this particular subject with such immediacy, emotions, and intimacy.

Of course, the director has an exceptional cast that brings all of this realism to fruition. I must give high praise to Sidney Flannigan who delivers an absolutely tremendous performance as Autumn. Talia Ryder also stands tall as Autumn’s rock of a cousin, Skylar. The movie has a solid supporting cast, but this film belongs to these two incredible leads who impress and captivate.

Now even though this movie is not at all a comforting watch, it is a most necessary dose of reality that should awaken people who have never been in this situation. Those who have experienced such troubles will appreciate that their voices can be heard by those willing to listen to their cries.

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