With its two stars blazing the publicity trail (including yours truly https://open.spotify.com/episode/4nLQgyfcvf7dRWELKghbpO?si=wbyxKSl0Sl-t5IqWkLlR8w), charming everyone with their infectious laughter and charisma, it would be easy to think that All of Us Strangers was going to be a light-hearted romance, tapping into the easy chemistry that Scott and Mescal radiate.
Instead, All of us Strangers is one of the most layered, uplifting and devastating looks at grief, parenthood, isolation and love.
It is anchored by a career best performance by Scott, (unbelievably snubbed by the Oscars).
Scott plays screenwriter Adam. Who is working on a script about his parents, who died when he was 12. However, due to some Goodnight Sweetheart like magic, he can converse with them in his old family home. Trying to come to terms with the literal and metaphorical ghosts of conversations and relationships he never got to have. During this period of self-exploration, he encounters his neighbour Harry (Paul Mescal) who appears to the be the only other resident of their imposing tower block. A relationship begins to blossom, and although the film is a love story, it is not a romantic one.
The focus is more on Scott finding it within himself to have the capacity to give love and accept love in return. It is an incredible portrayal of the difficult process of long-term grief. When Adam tries to brush off the effect his parents' passing has had on him by saying, "It was a long time ago,"
Harry’s response of: “Yeah I don’t think that matters” will be a shotgun blast to the chest of anyone who knows the difficulty of trying to not to let past sadness affect future happiness.
Director Andrew Haigh weaves an almost dream like state throughout. Punctuated with an endlessly playable soundtrack. He manages to craft a film that will be deeply personal to each viewer for a multitude of different reasons. It’s a film that constantly evolves throughout and will continue to do so long after its finished.
All of us Strangers is a profound, personal, and cathartic look at some of the rawest events and emotions you can experience. It is a great big cry of a movie which will leave you feeling drained, exposed but ultimately in a better place than you started.