*don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie, ok?*
Set on seeing, “I Think We’re Alone Now” (ITWAN) was based on Peter Dinklage (best known for playing the unforgettable Tyrion Lannister in “Game of Thrones”) and the plot, which is described by imdb.com as, “The apocalypse proves a blessing in disguise for one lucky recluse — until a second survivor arrives with the threat of companionship.” Commencing the search, it wasn’t on netflix streaming, wasn’t at the library, but netflix discs had it, in blu-ray no less. Waiting for the disc was a test in patience, as being on the 1-disc-out-at-a-time didn’t help. It was worth the wait. The second survivor mentioned is Elle Fanning, who is 20 years old and has 58! acting credits, starting when she was a 2 year-old in 2001. I’ve seen her in only one thing and the memory is neutral. Also rounding out the cast are VERY brief cameos of Paul Giamatti and Charlotte Rampling, both distinguished actors, but it’s a moot point, as they are injected minimally.
As the mini-blurb stated, Del (Dinklage) has adapted to the apocalypse in his own way. He worked in the small town’s library and apparently the library connection was his only social thread between himself and the town’s inhabitants. Having a sense of purpose is what keeps Del going, and Del’s purpose is to clean up the dead bodies and dispose of them while at the same time scavenging for survival items like batteries. There are shades of, “The Omega Man” here, as he’s the last man left alive and he does regular patrols of the town, but there are no zombie-like monsters who come out at night and there are no cures being sought. Del survived and the others didn’t and he’s ok with that. Then she shows up. Grace (Fanning) has crashed a car and is found unconscious in it by Del. He patches her up and sends her on her way, but she, unlike him, is happy to find another human alive and isn’t so interested in resuming her wandering quest for other survivors. Del tries what’s worked for him before the apocalypse to keep safe — avoidance. He continues about fulfilling his sense of purpose and pretends Grace doesn’t exist. Until she does.
There are only 2 actors in ITWAN, Dinklage and Fanning. Dinklage plays the librarian recluse with great care and sensitivity. He has the acting skills to raise an eyebrow to get a message across. As his sense of isolation is breached, we feel it with him. As he learns to accept the intruder, we feel that also. Fanning probably has the more challenging role of the two. She has to play it as someone who is smart enough to be patient with the survivor who has gotten used to being the only survivor. She has to have the finesse to navigate through the almost OCD nature of Del’s daily routines and to become useful to Del.
I really loved the little town this takes place in, Hastings-On-Hudson. Wikipedia says: Hastings-on-Hudson is a village and inner suburb of New York City located in the southwest part of the town of Greenburgh in the state of New York, United States. It is located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, about 20 miles (32 km) north of midtown Manhattan in New York City… As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 7,849 … The village is bordered by the Hudson River to the west, and the Saw Mill River to the east. The areas facing the Hudson River have views of the Palisades and Manhattan to the south. How it can be filmed with no signs of life is a mystery. There are no motorized vehicles on the streets (except Del’s truck and Grace’s car that crashes). Anyway it’s quaint, and the substantial river is good for fishing. Pretty much every inch of the town gets seen, both through their driving or walking or by looking at the map Del has to plot out his cleanup campaign. I really liked the way the two actors played off of each other skillfully. Grace, younger and somewhat wilder, does some drinking to the point of inebriation a few times, which is the most out of control either of them become.
This film is about being alone, then not being alone, and about how to make that transition. It also teaches that being alone is doable, and even pleasant most of the time, but what connects us most to life and this earth are others that we care about. OK this is starting to sound like some kind of mushiness that you’d find on the Hallmark Channel. ITWAN is not that kind of movie. It’s understated but the message is there.
For anyone who has struggled with social isolation, either self-imposed or through shunning, this movie is for you. For anyone who loves reading or books, a large portion of the film is set in the library. If you like quaint towns and low-key plots, you will like it. If you like Peter Dinklage and/or Elle Fanning, they give great performances here. The MPAA rating is R, which is for language. My final word on this film is: sensitive and profound.
Score on a scale of 0-5 = 4.0
UPDATE ON 12/11/18: I have to come clean on this review. I lied. There is a 3rd act, and this 3rd act is where two other humans are revealed to be still alive. It’s a weird twist and not a welcome one. I just don’t want people to know this going into it, so this will now be labeled with *spoiler alert*.