A detective fantasy / family drama where a love of words helps a father reconnect with a missing son.


Carl Hunter
4,616 ( 3,353)





Complete credited cast:
Bill Nighy ... Alan
Sam Riley ... Peter
Alice Lowe ... Sue
Jenny Agutter ... Margaret
Tim McInnerny ... Arthur
John Westley ... Official
Oliver Sindcup Oliver Sindcup ... Young Peter
Louis Healy Louis Healy ... Jack
Ella-Grace Gregoire ... Rachel
Alan Williams ... Desk Officer
Eithne Browne Eithne Browne ... Waitress
Alexei Sayle ... Bill


Alan is a stylish tailor with moves as sharp as his suits. He has spent years searching tirelessly for his missing son Michael who stormed out over a game of scrabble. With a body to identify and his family torn apart, Alan must repair the relationship with his youngest son Peter and solve the mystery of an online player who he thinks could be Michael, so he can finally move on and reunite his family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »


Sometimes it's hard to find the right words. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Alan says that Marmite isn't available in Canada. It has been available for quite a long time. See more »


When Alan claims that "jazz" is a high-scoring word in Scrabble, a character corrects him by stating it's impossible to play since there's only one Z tile in the set. In reality, this word is indeed playable using "wild card" tiles. If using J, A, and Z tiles and a wild card tile in place of the other Z, the word would be a high-scoring word worth a minimum of 19 points. See more »


Alan: [Referring to the buttons of a suit jacket, from top to bottom] What you have to remember about these is: sometimes, always, never.
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Sometimes Always Never
Written by Edwyn Collins and Sean Read
Performed by Edwyn Collins, Sean Read and Chay Heney
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User Reviews

An Enjoyable Flick!
16 October 2019 | by peeedeee-94281See all my reviews

Just to address the marmite topic brought up by another reviewer: It was illustrated in the film that Billy Nighy's character Alan was not a reliable story teller. He liked to tell tall tales, like the one about the grandmother with the coal seam in the basement. Going back to the movie, I thought it was quirky like everyone mentioned. I knew it wasn't going to be a straight forward dramedy based on the bizarre, artificial riding in car scenes. It looked like it was done in a 1950s B movie style. Thankfully the movie dials back on that and delivers a fairly straight forward, drama comedy framed around the game of scrabble, but really about Alan and his son Peter, as they try to solve the mystery of the missing son Michael. The body viewing scene (which we don't see) was particularly odd, because we were told that Michael went missing many many years ago when he and Peter were still children. So why would they be called to identify a body? If it was an adult's body, how would they know it was him. Usually they do DNA tests anyway. Other than that weird start, and some scene involving a boat (or did it?), much of the movie follows a fairly linear format. I think it helps that every character in the movie had something to offer the movie, and generally everyone was likeable. You kind of hoped there would be a resolution of the 'mystery', but ultimately it didn't really matter. Nothing is really 'solved' by the ending, except maybe Peter wasn't as resentful of his missing brother's 'Prodigal Son' stature, and maybe Alan realized it was time to focus on his existing family.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

12 June 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sometimes Always Never See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,599, 14 June 2020

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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