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[Tribeca ’24] ‘They’re Here’ review: UFO documentary is a great piece of filmmaking

Is anyone out there?

They’re Here is a UFO documentary that looks as much at people as it does at their experiences. This is not unusual for this type of film. Many times UFO docs go all in on trying to convince audiences that aliens exist. Those that do not, tend to treat it’s subject in an almost mocking manner.

Things start normally enough. Cookie openly talks about how she has been abducted fourteen times by aliens. She has no tangible proof, but tells her skeptical interviewers they will believe in time. She seems to be just another weirdo that claims to have made contact with extraterrestrials.

They’re Here does not stick to this formulaic approach, however. It does not take long to realize that Cookie is an ordinary person with an extraordinary story. As more people are introduced, the documentary really starts to come into focus. It is about people looking for a connection.

[Tribeca '24] 'They're Here' review: UFO documentary is a great piece of filmmaking

All of the main people involved have had some sort of supposed encounter, so it is no surprise that UFO culture is a huge part of They’re Here. A stand-up comic trying to work his sighting into his routine and a man nearing retirement who does not know what he wants from life are just some of the stories found here.

It works to an extent. There is definitely a sense that each person is searching for something that goes beyond simply wanting people to believe. Like most, they long for a sense of belonging. Regrettably, They’re Here can be too disjointed. None of the people involved are given adequate time to make them stand out. The film skips between them a little too haphazardly, leading to each being little more than a person with a UFO story.  It is a good piece of filmmaking that knows what it wants to do; it just has some trouble getting there.

Tribeca Festival takes from June 5 – June 16. The full lineup can be found HERE.

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