The Joys and Sorrows of Being Sixteen are Explored in
The Never List
Think back to when you were sixteen. Life was just beginning to get exciting. Your senior year of high school, graduation, college, and the rest of your life were just around the corner. Sure, there were pressures, and not every moment was out of a John Hughes movie, but the future was full of mystery and potential. Everything was possible, especially because you had your best friend to share it all with. But what if something unimaginable happened and the future no longer beckoned with promise?
In the movie, The Never List, overachievers Eva and Liz have been BFFs since elementary school. Eva’s dream is to become a comic book artist, something she knows her mother would never approve of. Together, the young women have created The Never List. It stars their alter egos, Vicky and Veronica, who experience all the questionable things the real Eva and Liz would never do as a way of releasing the pressure they are under from demanding schedules and parents with high expectations.
Eva is running for class president, juggling a heavy academic workload, and planning the upcoming school dance when the unthinkable happens. Liz is killed in a tragic accident. Consumed with anger, knowing Liz, who once had her whole life ahead of her has been deprived of the adventures that lie ahead, and aware of the sacrifices Liz made to ensure her future would be bright, Eva decides to honor her by completing the list. It is a journey that begins with fairy-tale romance and adventure but veers toward the ruination of her own tenuous future.
The film combines real-life action with animation as a way for Eva to stay connected to Liz. Through her art, Eva completes The Never List. As she checks off each item, the animated Vicky and Veronica do the same thing together, something that can no longer happen in real life for Eva and Liz.
The winner of the 2020 Audience Award for Best Feature at the Indie Street Film Festival, The Never List was written by Ariadne Shaffer and executive produced and directed by Michelle Mower. Mower’s previous film credits include The Preacher’s Daughter and Melon Girl, as well as many others. In her words, the films she makes “. . . usually have female leads and explore themes such as parental expectations, pursuing artistic dreams, rebellion, and consequences for the choices we make—both good and bad.” Shaffer, who also appears in The Never List, is known for her roles in Futurestates and Falsehoods, among others.
Taking on the role of Eva, Fivel Stewart, according to Mower, “. . . really rose to the challenge of bringing to life this character who gradually goes from goody-goody sidekick to a young, independent woman who is not afraid to take center stage and live life on her own terms.” She has appeared in many other films, including The Windigo and Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft.
Set to be released on December 11, 2020, The Never List will be welcomed by those just beginning the uncertain path to adulthood that is filled with promise and tragedy. However, it will be just as appealing to those who have come a long way in completing that journey and are able to look back at the beginning with wonder and understanding.