All of Us Strangers movie review: A magically ‘real’ experience

08 March,2024 01:28 PM IST |  Los Angeles  |  Johnson Thomas

Directed by Andrew Haigh and based in part on the Taichi Yamada novel Strangers, this film has power and heart in equal measure

All of Us Strangers movie review

Film: All of Us Strangers
Cast: Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Carter John Grout, Clare Foy, Jamie Bell
Director: Andrew Haigh
Rating: 3.5/5
Runtime: 105 min

Andrew Haigh's latest offering is a heartwarming story of love, reflection and healing held within a genuinely moving and touching tale. Directed by Andrew Haigh and based in part on the Taichi Yamada novel Strangers, this film has power and heart in equal measure. There are two parallel stories playing out in this film with reclusive Adam (Andrew Scott) pivotal to both. This is a tale of a 40-plus gay Londoner Adam, getting triggered by an evolving relationship with his neighbor, a much younger, Harry (Paul Mescal), into coming-to-terms with the devastating loss he experienced as a little boy.

Screenwriters Andrew Haigh and Taichi Yamada make this a completely cathartic experience for the two principal characters and it's easy to say that for anyone watching it, it will be such a moving an experience that you can't help but shed tears along the way.

A lonely Adam is drawn to his downstairs neighbor, a much younger Harry and the two tentatively embark on a relationship that unravels the past and gives their lives a new meaning. Initially the setup may seem confusing. We see an adult Adam visiting his parents (Jamie Bell, Clare Foy looking just as old or young as their son) home and having little conversations with them. It's as though time has stood still for his parents while Adam himself is withering away with the misery of having no one to share his pain with. Harry steps in as a breath of fresh life and Adam's budding relationship with this mysterious new beau becomes very much influenced by his relationship with his own past. The narrative may be about gay characters but it could just have well been a regular heterosexual couple and the movie would have been just as poignant. The sexuality of the central two players may not be too important to the telling of this tale. But the very fact that they are gay offers an extra facet and depth to this narration. The narrative here is pretty much unique and because of it stunning. Adam is able to magically return to his family home where his parents, who died when he was twelve, are alive. His conversations with them are those he imagined having, but couldn't. Those scenes with his parents are at the very heart of this film. They are heartrendingly poignant and enacted beautifully.

The script adheres strictly to authentic situations and setups. There's nary a foot wrong here. The performances of all the four main characters are emotionally affecting. The story is never apparent, it comes to you as you get drawn into the setup gradually. The intimately rendered cinematography aids in creating poignancy and pathos. In addition to getting the actors to put in excellent performances, Andrew Haigh has also provided a background score that takes you back to the 80s pop music decade. ‘The Power of Love' from Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 1984 album Beyond the Pleasuredome, is used and referenced beautifully as a recurring motif. This film has the power to linger in your mind much after its runtime has ended. It may not give you all the answers but it gives you new perspectives that could change you. It's certainly a pity that it did not get nominated for any of the major Oscar award categories.

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