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‘All of Us Strangers’ – Review

‘All of Us Strangers’ – Review


Some filmmakers have the ability to channel pure emotion into a perfect presentation of magic, and that’s exactly what filmmaker Andrew Haigh delivers to audiences with All of Us Strangers, a beautiful and heart-wrenching story of love and memory colliding together in what can only be described as cinematic poetry.

One night in his near-empty London tower block, screenwriter Adam (Andrew Scott) has a chance encounter with mysterious neighbor Harry (Paul Mescal), puncturing the rhythm of his everyday life. As a relationship develops between them, Adam finds himself drawn back to his childhood home, where his parents appear to be living just as they were on the day they died 30 years ago.

Since 2011, filmmaker Andrew Haigh has marked himself out as a filmmaker to watch, and his work has laid bare the human spirit of nuisance and emotion time and time again with pictures such as 45 Years and Lean on Pete. Now Haigh fully opens himself up as an artist with the bold and thought-provoking All of Us Strangers, and this work is a showcase for the talents of a director who is unafraid to separate himself from his subject matter. A simple story of two lost souls who find a connection together, All of Us Strangers is like a beautiful haiku set to life as it examines one man’s present and past and his bold desire to be true to himself. To experience this film is to experience a transcendental dream of emotion, and its unexpected narrative will have you in tears by its final scene. This is a sublime and primal piece of direction from its filmmaker and its piece of pure expression.

Taking the centre spotlight of All of Us Strangers is British thespian Andrew Scott, and the renowned actor delivers the best performance of his career. As Adam, a burnt-out and lonely screenwriter, Scott is desperately longing for connection, and in his isolation, begins to lose himself to the memories of his youth as he begins to relive his past again. Scott’s performance is incredibly true to the emotional needs of the character, and Scott fully immerses himself into Adam and his conflicted, often hurting mind. Through Adam, audiences get a picture of the human experience and the moments and dreams that make it up. Scott’s performance is an expression of pure truth, and he becomes a symbol of our need for love and connection in a world that is so uncontrollable, and his performance is utterly heartwarming.

Playing off of Scott’s Adam is rising star Paul Mescal as Harry, another lonely soul whom Adam comes into contact with and who eventually becomes his lover and partner in a whirlwind romance that quickly sweeps them up. Mescal’s Harry is the romantic to Adam’s realist, and with his desire to experience every sensation, he quickly breaks Adam out of his rut. But this unabashed freedom quickly turns into a tornado of passion, and such levels of love can’t be contained forever. For his part, Mescal is incredibly brave in the role, and he delivers a committed and, at times, layered performance that will keep audiences pulled in. His performance definitely proves why he is tipped to be the next big thing, and he has the measure of a powerful actor at the head of his craft.

In All of Us Strangers, a huge measure of applause must be given to Claire Foy and Jamie Bell, who portray Adam’s mother and father. As the now-grown Adam travels back through memory and dream, he comes to communicate with his long-lost parents, and both Foy and Bell deliver a dual performance that elevates Scott’s position in the narrative and which helps to focus the direction of the story and gives emphasis to Adam’s own emotions and feelings. There’s an incredible honesty and nostalgia present in the dual performance of Foy and Bell, and you feel like they are truly a committed partnership as Adam’s parents, who, for this one single moment, are able to find a way to express love for their son one more time.

As a cinematic experience, All of Us Strangers is a beautiful piece of cinema to behold and its dreamlike ambience runs between the presence of both an artistic memory and a reflective ghost story. Light and sound come together to build an incredible ambience of feeling and emotion, and with its deep neon hues and 1980s-styled soundtrack, audiences will feel the nostalgia of the piece. The atmosphere of All of Us Strangers makes an incredible impression on the audience, and it elevates the emotion of the narrative displayed.

All of Us Strangers is a remarkable film that will catch viewers off guard, and its outstanding performances will stay with them even after the credits have rolled.

Image: 20th Century Studios