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Screenshot Saturday

Screenshot Saturday: Sean Donnelly’s I Think We’re Alone Now (2008)

Hey, a documentary! It’s a Screenshot Saturday first! I Think We’re Alone Now is a small, hour-long docu gem detailing the lives and obsessions of two people entirely devoted to 80s pop icon Tiffany. The first, an enthusiastic and autistic man named Jeff Turner, claims to be a “close, personal friend of Tiffany’s”, but has a restraining order and stash of articles identifying him as her stalker. The second, intersexual Kelly McCormick, woke from a coma to hear “I Think We’re Alone Now” and fell madly in love with the singer, whom she believes is the love of her life.

What makes the documentary so remarkable is the care and affection director Donnelly puts into telling Jeff and Kelly’s stories, as they parallel, intertwine and eventually diverge. This is not a film about Tiffany in the least (the singer appears near the end as Kelly gets to share a moment with her for the first time) but about these two unusual personalities. As one reviewer wrote, the film is ultimately about unrequited love, and while the obsession occasionally borders on the frightening (“I am sick and fucking tired of this bullshit of being pushed out of Tiffany’s life when I’m supposed to be in it!” Kelly rages) it is nothing if not sincere. “I have the right to love and be happy,” Kelly says with such conviction that it’s almost heart-breaking.

The interaction between the fans is fascinating– Jeff is boiling over with enthusiasm and at one point his bragging about the first time Tiffany kissed him on the cheek inflames an intense jealousy in Kelly, who believes Tiffany is her soul-mate, not Jeff’s.

Kelly and her love in Sean Donnelly's I Think We're Alone Now (2008)

For anyone who has ever loved a celebrity, and for anyone who has ever loved without return, I Think We’re Alone Now is food for thought.

I Think We’re Alone Now is currently streaming on Netflix.

By Britta R. Moline  9/10/2011

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