Combustible Celluloid Review - Alone Together (2022), Katie Holmes, Katie Holmes, Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess, Derek Luke, Melissa Leo, Neal Benari, Ed Dixon, Spenser Granese, Zosia Mamet
Combustible Celluloid
With: Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess, Derek Luke, Melissa Leo, Neal Benari, Ed Dixon, Spenser Granese, Zosia Mamet
Written by: Katie Holmes
Directed by: Katie Holmes
MPAA Rating: R for language
Running Time: 98
Date: 07/22/2022

Alone Together (2022)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Clearing the Airbnb

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Katie Holmes's romantic drama Alone Together has a gentle, elegant touch, developing a palpable sense of place, but it's eventually undone by odd storytelling choices that cause the characters to feel disconnected.

It's the first days of the COVID-19 lockdown in March of 2020, and food critic June (Katie Holmes) is determined to get to her rented Airbnb in Upstate New York. On the way, she learns that her boyfriend John (Derek Luke) will not be joining her; he has decided to stay behind with his terrified parents.

When June arrives, she finds the place has been double-booked, and that Charlie (Jim Sturgess) is already staying there. It's late, so he agrees to let her spend the night. With lockdown in full effect, and certain that her relationship with John is on the rocks, June and Charlie fall into an easy romance, eating together, taking bike trips, and enjoying the countryside. But when John turns up, June must face reality again.

Perhaps inspired by Woody Allen — especially in the opening New York montage — and Eric Rohmer, Alone Together, which was written and directed by Holmes, deliberately focuses more on character and conversation than plot. It creates an atmosphere of relaxing surrender, with outdoorsy fresh air, and unhurried evenings. Unfortunately, all that open air allows viewers to easily see the weird holes in the screenwriting.

More than once, when speaking to one another, characters withhold their most vital piece of information, when there's no reason for doing so. It gives the impression of characters interacting from within their own private compartments, manipulated to tell a story, rather than interacting organically.

Then there are niggling annoyances like Holmes's endless array of costume changes (three in one day, for no particular reason), all carried in one small travel bag, or the fact that the huge rental house apparently has only one bathroom and one bedroom, or a preponderance of product placement, or the fact that the characters stay on in the Airbnb well after their rental time has expired, and no one seems to notice or care. All in all, Alone Together leaves one with the feeling of being checked out.

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