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The Girl Next Door

‘Alone Together’ Review: Finding Love in a Pandemic Retreat

Katie Holmes writes, directs and stars in this minor-key rom-com set in 2020.

New York Times
By Teo Bugbee

The minor key romance “Alone Together” is a modest affair, which credibly depicts the kinds of conversations about relationships that many people were confronted with during the early days of the pandemic. Its simplicity and lack of cinematic fancy strikes a tone of surprising relief.

The movie, written and directed by Katie Holmes, who also stars in it, follows two strangers who fall in love after they both are booked in the same Airbnb in March 2020.

June (Holmes) intends to weather the pandemic’s early days upstate with her boyfriend, John (Derek Luke). But her plans are thwarted when John elects to stay home in New York City. Her hopes for a quiet retreat meet another roadblock upon arrival: The rental house turns out to be occupied by another traveler, Charlie (Jim Sturgess).

Both characters are initially annoyed to encounter each other. But finding themselves together during a period of global isolation provides a reason to connect. Attraction develops quickly, and the characters fall in love as they discuss how the pandemic has changed their life plans.

The movie’s strongest appeal is in the resonance between what the characters experience and what the world looks like now. But Holmes also finds grace notes as a director. She stages painterly angles for upstate interiors and keeps the mood mellow, allowing her characters to converse without pushing for laughs or sentimental theatrics. Her film is a quiet achievement: a movie that isn’t running from reality.

Alone Together
Rated R for language and brief nudity. Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes. In theaters.

Director: Katie Holmes
Writer: Katie Holmes
Stars: Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess, Derek Luke, Melissa Leo, Becky Ann Baker
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h 33m
Genres: Drama, Romance