The ‘last humans alive’ narrative isn’t a unique concept—it’s almost become a sub-genre of the post-apocalyptic cinema canon —but Reed Morano’s I Think We’re Alone Now proposes a new perspective on grief and loss after the world falls apart. When insular Del (Peter Dinklage) meets Grace (Elle Fanning), he is forced to change his own perspectives as the realisation dawns that he might not be the only person left in the world.
Morano never gives an answer for the causation of the population being wiped out. It’s a bold and important choice—Alone is not about investigating why, instead focusing on those who survive. It’s an interrogation into the psychology of grief and an exploration of how humans make sense of a world when what they loved about it is gone.
Morano juxtaposes Del’s daily routine (rigorous cleaning/burying) with the third act revelation of a procedure which wipes memories. Here, Morano lays out two ways of coping with insurmountable loss—to carry on or to wilfully (or forcibly) forget.
Through Del’s sterile routine, Morano implies that he’s always been on his own and therefore the event had little effect on his life. This is later found to be a lie. Grace discovers that Del has been hoarding photographs from each home he cleans as a way of commemorating those who are no longer there. His dedication to the cleaning of homes and disposal of bodies masks his grief. This task serves to delay the real grieving process for his family. Morano utilises her skills in cinematography to initially present her audience with a multitude of wide and long shots highlighting the isolation that Del and Grace face. As the two grow closer, the cinematography becomes more intimate, colours become less muted and the two fill the frame in close-ups rather than being imprisoned by it.
The procedure, like Del’s routine, is understandable. The pain of losing so many loved ones is almost unbearable, but the message of Reed’s film is loud and clear; acceptance is the only way one can heal from such devastation. Forgetting or ignoring grief are not options. Alone is about friendship and connection—two things we desperately need if we are to survive.
I Think We’re Alone Now is distributed by Momentum Films and available to stream on Amazon and iTunes. Follow I Think We’re Alone Now on Twitter and follow Reed Morano on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on her website.