YEAR: 2008, WRITER & DIRECTOR: Sean Donnelly, BUDGET: ?, GROSS: ?
the main characters in both these documentaries have something in their lives that they are obsessed with/addicted to. for jeff turner and kelly mccormick it is 80s pop star tiffany and for dave, it is heroine.
I Think We're Alone Now takes us into the world of jeff and kelly - both obsessed with tiffany. jeff is a 50-year-old man with asperger's syndrome who has been going to tiffany concerts since the late 80s and who feels that he and the singer are meant to be together (this seems to somewhat change during the film as he begins to call her just a friend and seems happy with her marriage to an englishman named ben). kelly is an "intersexual" who claims that tiffany came to her when she was in a coma following a bike crash - thus saving her life.
in Facing The Habit, we meet dave. he used to be a millionaire stock broker. but now he is a heroine addict who steals to pay for is addiction. he has spent years trying to get clean and has tried everything, but nothing has worked. now he is set to try an experimental treatment using ibogaine (a drug made from the west african iboga root).
i had thought there was a chance that the film would be like an episode of Intervention. but, that is not the case. although we do get to see how dave lives these days and how he feels about being an addict and what heroine has done to his life, the film doesn't do a lot of historical analysis as to why dave is in this position. rather it is just as concerned with dave as it is with ibogaine. there are also interviews with others who have used the experimental treatment.
I Think We're Alone Now spends more time with its main characters talking about their lives and what has brought them to this point. there is no analysis from experts on stalking or anything like that. rather by listening to them tell us about themselves and a little insight from their friends, we are left to our own devices in understanding who kelly and jeff are. this may be why some have called the film exploitative. but, i don't see it that way.
sure, both kelly and jeff have some mental issues, but the movie isn't laughing at them or holding them up in some kind of exploitative way. rather the film is just taking us closer to people that maybe we don't understand and any snickering or exploitative thoughts towards them are from the specific viewers themselves and how they feel about these people rather then what the film is telling us what to think.
although, a more philosophical argument could be made that the act of filming these people for the documentary is exploitation in itself. that the documentary form is exploitative by nature and that turning the cameras lens on an individual is exploiting them for the purpose/gain of the film. but i digress...
dave's attempt at recovery and the other stories of recovery and failure that make up Facing The Habit are interesting and uplifting and heartbreaking. but it was also really interesting to see ibogaine at work. the before and after is incredible. although, as great as it appears to work in curbing the addiction, the film also makes it clear that that is only the first step to full recovery.
these are both short documentaries (61 minutes and 49 minutes) so you can go ahead and do what i did and make it a double feature night.