All of Us Strangers

All of Us Strangers
All of Us Strangers
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Andrew Haigh is a well-known English filmmaker in the indie world who has directed several UK dramas including Weekend (2011), Lean On Pete (2017) and 45 Years (2015). The latter earned Charlotte Rampling an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in 2016. It could be argued that his newest film All Of Us Strangers, will enter into the awards conversation for its two leads as well as himself. While also delivering stellar performances and psychological twists and turns to moviegoers, making it one of the most original and mesmerizing films of this year’s award season.

In All Of Us Strangers, Adam (Andrew Scott), a lonely screenwriter struggling with his current project due to a silent depression finds it hard to move on. One day he goes back to his native town as an adult where he finds out that his father(Jamie Bell) and mother(Claire Foy) are mysteriously living like they had died tragically in an accident when he was twelve years old. Further curiosity builds up within Adam as he meets Harry(Paul Mescal), who is a homosexual living in his apartment building.

The two men fall instantly, madly in love with each other, with Harry providing the affection that was missing from Adam’s life. But Harry’s arrival triggers mixed emotions about him in Adam which he must then deal with through visits from his allegedly revived parents. Are these appearances only really what they seem? What is their cause, if any at all? And how would such things affect Adam mentally or emotionally when it comes to seeking love?

To say anything more about them or how they change the relationship between Adam and Harry would be venturing into spoiler territory; however, Haigh masterfully grounds such fantastic and psychological elements within realistic dialogue throughout All Of Us Strangers. There is no difference between when Adam visits his parents and these days when he spends alone at home; rather, they all seem to be rustic and homely like the homes of the audience that have good parents, loving parents or those who want their parents to be like Adam’s.

In addition, Haigh’s direction is partly responsible for the nostalgic melancholy imbuing All Of Us Strangers; in fact, every scene that employs handheld camerawork has a raw sense of realism attached to it. In frivolous scenes with Adam and his folks decorating a Christmas tree against Pet Shop Boys’ “Always On My Mind”, there is still an element of rawness in their conversation. Meanwhile, intimate instances between Adam and Harry see extreme closeups of Harry’s hands running down his body, going the extra mile to ensure the viewer feels the same love on-screen as does.

And throughout All Of Us Strangers this little ensemble simply excels itself as Andrew Scott looks set for breakthrough success in his first leading role in a narrative film having supported in Catherine Called Birdy (1994) and Amazon’s Fleabag TV series. Each time he speaks with them he does so naturally but with deep burning curiosity during heavy conversations with his parents. At times though, such as when we see him looking at them with tear filled eyes that refuse to believe what they are seeing, Adam engages perfect control underneath such scenes.

All Of Us Strangers takes a few turns, though, that will surely divide people. By the time it has dropped its bombshell of a twist and audiences come to understand just what is really happening in the metaphysical scheme of Haigh’s latest film, they may either wish to see it again immediately after or be so taken aback as not to bother about coming back into such sad world of the film. Meanwhile, one cannot avoid the fact that grief has been well examined in many movies today; thus whatever viewers are left with might be too familiar from some other movie made recently.

However, All Of Us Strangers reveals a new way of looking at grief and making it explode on those who watch the film through Haigh’s originality that would make open-minded patrons discuss at length their interpretation about what he does: his reveals, memories—both happy and sad—of the lives they had with their families and stunning performances by a cast ensemble. Initially a touching love story with supernatural elements develops into an exploration of cosmic LGBTQ+ mind which is at once frightful and mournful yet heavenly beautiful. In this sense, it is revolutionary; hence inquisitive observers should not be strangers in theaters during this award season but rush to see All Of Us Strangers.

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