Holmes wrote, directed, and stars in “Alone Together,” set in the earliest days of COVID-19. After a brief opening montage introduces us to June (Holmes) and John (Holmes’ “Pieces of April” co-star Derek Luke) as they laugh and toast their way through a happy Manhattan life, the date is revealed to be March 15. The world might be collapsing, and June is trying to get to an Airbnb rental in upstate New York, only to find that the trains are cancelled, so she has to take a Lyft.
She arrives to discover first, that the place has been double booked and a scruffy but cute guy named Charlie (Jim Sturgess) is already living there, and second, that John is not coming because he has decided he has to be with his parents.
June and Charlie decide they can both stay there, and they quickly get past the “where do you work” and “what is your favorite book” questions to eating together, karaoke, and various other bonding activities and personal revelations about families and relationships.
Holmes has been in enough movies to have a strong sense of traditional structure, or maybe it’s more accurate to say a traditional sense of strong, three-act structure. While that can mean a familiarity and consistency with expectations many audience members find appealing, here it just means that the film is overly predictable. When a character asks, “How did you find me?” another responds, “This is where you said you would go.” That exchange is superfluous because we also heard what was said and knew where the character would be.
The film does not trust its audience enough to draw our own conclusions about the people and their circumstances. We learn early on that Charlie’s job is—metaphor alert—“restorer,” not just of old motorcycle engines but, he tells June, pretty much everything. As she’s trying to get out of the city, June hears a homeless guy with COVID yelling that the world is ending and archival audio from then-Governor Andrew Cuomo talking about unprecedented measures to keep people safe. On top of all that, still in the first part of the film, the Lyft driver tells her that “people think they have all the time in the world, keep putting things off.”