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#InsideOut21 Review: Alone Together

June 6, 2021

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The 2021 Inside Out Film Festival is running virtually from May 27th to June 6th, all films are available to stream for audiences across Ontario

The music documentary Alone Together, which screened virtually last night as the closing night film of Inside Out, takes us behind the scenes of Charli XCX’s 2020 album How I’m Feeling Now, which was fully conceived and recorded over five weeks during quarantine at her home in Los Angeles last year.

The film opens with a quick-cut montage of the pop star’s career up until that point, with snippets of concert footage that show her dedicated fanbase coming together, many of them young LGBTQ folks who found a sense of connection through her music. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and put a stop to concerts and clubbing, leaving many feeling cut off from the world. In response to this, Charli XCX started hosting zoom calls with her fans, and came up with the idea to write, record and release a new album during the lockdown.

Assembled by directors Bradley Bell and Pablo Jones-Soler, who are credited simply as Bradley & Pablo, Alone Together mainly focuses on the actual production of the album. The film is very much a product of the digital age, mixing together zoom calls, phone footage and RPG-style animated sequences, and it feels a bit cobbled together. But it still offers a decent look at the creative process, showing the whirlwind process of making an album, from fine-tuning lyrics with the help of her fans, to dealing with vocal and mental burnout that is being exacerbated by the lockdown.

The film also serves as a tribute to Charli XCX’s passionate fanbase and her boyfriend Huck, who came to live with her during the pandemic and served as the inspiration for the album. The filmmakers pack a lot into a scant 67 minute running time, and Alone Together moves at a quick pace, often feeling more like a “making of” bonus feature than a proper film. The film itself seems almost exclusively made for her fans, but it offers just enough for casual viewers as well to serve as an interesting look at her songwriting process, while also doubling as a somewhat unique pandemic-era time capsule.

Alone Together premiered last night at 8:30 PM. More information can be found right here.

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