'All of Us Strangers' - Hazy fantasy romance

One of our writers got an early look at 'All of Us Strangers' at the BFI festival in London.

Zahra Hanif
9th November 2023
Image Source: IMDb
All of Us Strangers is Andrew Haigh’s latest hazy fantasy romance with one of 2023’s most stacked casts. It’s as beautiful as it is haunting, telling the tale of a young man, Adam (Andrew Scott), his budding romance with his mysterious neighbour, Harry (Paul Mescal), and his muddled life, as he weaves in and out of his troubled past, this plotline being accompanied by surreal, stunning visuals. 

The blossoming love story with an overarching darkness stemming from Adam’s traumatic past is an intricate juxtaposition that is cleverly written, as a loose adaptation of Taichi Yamada’s 1987 novel Strangers. The cinematography is also worth noting - the dreamscape set up contributes to the sense of delirium that carries through the screen to the audience as days and tenses blend seamlessly into one another, warping our perceptions as much as Adam’s and creating a flawlessly captivating, immersive cinematic experience. 

delicate and insightful writing, gorgeously dreamy visuals, positive queer representation, and powerhouse performances from a loaded cast

We see Adam attempt to grasp at the shards of his past through his screenwriting efforts, in which he revisits his family home, an idyllic countryside dream, particularly when contrasted to the bustle of London, where he lives now. His parents - or their ghostly forms - and him partake in intricately scripted exchanges, discussing Adam’s sexuality, primarily - while this is poignant and sensitive, Haigh allows for some comedic relief in lines read by Adam’s mum (Claire Foy) - but I won’t spoil. These interactions are impressive, not only on Haigh’s part, but on Adam’s, for these characters merely being projections of his 12-year old imagination. It is refreshing to see how emboldened he is, as a queer man, confronting his parents now despite them very literally being stuck in the 80s. 

The conversations between Adam and Harry also bring to light important discussions about queerness, as their relationship develops, albeit tentatively, given Adam’s trauma and incessant nostalgia seeping into all elements of his life. It is also refreshing to see how - despite Adam’s personal issues - their relationship remains promising and hopeful to the end. With delicate and insightful writing, gorgeously dreamy visuals, positive queer representation, and powerhouse performances from a loaded cast, All of Us Strangers is an exceptional film. See it in UK cinemas from the 26th January 2024.

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AUTHOR: Zahra Hanif
English literature student :)

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