As seen at this years Woods Hole Film Festival. Movie review by Patricia Freeman.
Loneliness compels individuals to take drastic measures, as writer/director/producer Gorman Bechard reminds us in his gritty film “You Are Alone.” Essentially Bechard crafts a careful character study of two people and their desperate attempts to overcome their feelings of isolation in a world driven by monotonous social constraints of jobs, family life, and school. Told through a series of flashbacks leading up to a powerful and unpredictable ending, “You Are Alone” allows audiences to look behind the curtain and into the escort service world where we are introduced to a young woman and her most recent client.
Played with remarkable honesty and talent by Jessica Bohl, who resembles the leggy Katie Holmes, “Alone” chronicles Yale-bound Daphne’s downward spiral into depression after breaking up with her serious high school boyfriend. Thinking that joining an escort service will allow her to explore her sexuality and protect her anonymity, she invents the persona of Britney, which quickly catches the attention of her next door neighbor who recognizes her at his nephew’s bachelor party. Buddy, the neighbor, soon finds her on-line ad that boasts that she will do anything and everything and calls for an appointment. The film opens with their meeting in the hotel and uses effective flashbacks to fill in the details.
The audience soon realizes that the naive and morose Buddy is Daphne’s most challenging customer, as he threatens to expose her private world of Johns and sordid sexual acts. As Buddy, actor Richard Brundage effectively captures his dejection from the breakup of his marriage and his sexually charged curiosity with Daphne’s job. While the viewer is kept in suspense as to why Buddy has really called Daphne until the end, what happens in between is a closer look at the motivations of the principles. Bechard handles the claustrophobic hotel scenes adeptly and never allows his camera to stop long enough to give the film the feel of a staged theatrical production. He carefully places his actors so that their movements feel organic and real. The emotionally intense and sexually charged dialogue that occurs between Daphne and Buddy in the hotel room as they attempt to chisel each others’ stony, embittered facades titillates the mind, and reminds viewer that talking about sex is often more entertaining than actually viewing the act on screen. Ultimately, while Britney’s stories of dining at the Y, salad tossing, and, of course, the infamous bracelet game Snap might seduce audiences into thinking that they are watching yet another film about sex, this film really seeks to explore the psychology behind people’s actions and not the act itself.
When the film reaches its stark conclusion, Bechard’s genius for telling twisted tales about sex and love is fully realized. Relying on his Connecticut roots to add authenticity to his locations and characterizations, he succeeds in creating two realistic characters caught in a web of despair. Boasting a solid cast, well-chosen music, and intriguing dialogue (for which Bohl was given a credit due to her own interpretation of the character), Bechard’s haunting character study reminds us that in the end we are all alone even in suburbia.