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Film Review: ALL OF US STRANGERS (2023): A Very Emotional Love Story That Explores the Mysteries of the Human Condition

Andrew Scott Paul Mescal All Of Us Strangers

All of Us Strangers Review

All of Us Strangers (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Andrew Haigh, written by Taichi Yamada and Andrew Haigh and starring Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell, Claire Foy, Carter John Grout, Cameron Ashplant, Lincoln R. Beckett, Jack Cronin, Zachary Timmis and Carolina Van Wyhe. 

All of Us Strangers is a movie that will captivate its audience as it has some lofty, delicate themes on its plate that it presents to the viewer with great complexity. Directed by Andrew Haigh, the film explores the human condition through a plot that feels like a dream for much of the picture’s running time. It stars Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal as a pair of lovers navigating their romance through the past and the present in very emotionally challenging ways.

Haigh doesn’t offer easy answers to the questions that are raised during the course of the movie nor does Haigh entirely explain things that seem to be happening in the mind of our main character, Adam (Scott). The events of this movie take place in an alternate reality that could be interconnected to Adam’s life or, more simply, envisioned by him. This is a remarkably woven tale of human longing and the need to be understood by others. It will certainly provoke conversations afterwards.

Early on in the film, Adam visits with his mother (Claire Foy) who learns he is gay. She has an odd reaction that seems to come from another time period than the present. Adam’s dad (Jamie Bell), also has interaction with Adam that seems a bit forced at first, but slowly becomes more parental and caring in nature as the characters develop. The major thing to know about this film is that Scott is older than Bell and Foy in real life, so it’s apparent that these sequences of parent/child interactions are not happening in a linear or chronological fashion.

The romance between Adam and Harry (Mescal) also seems to happen in a way that isn’t necessarily based on reality although these characters could meet the way they do in the film in a perfect world. This film reminds us, though, that the world is anything but perfect.

Adam has suffered a bit of tragedy in his life, being unable to fulfill his desires due to fear of death (AIDS) and, of course, the loss of his parents in an accident at age 12. That’s right, his parents aren’t alive, according to what Adam says in the picture so it becomes apparent that his interactions with them early in the picture could be fragments of his imagination.

One scene has Bell, Foy and Scott getting under the covers together in bed. They are operating as a family but aren’t seen at the correct age that they should be in order to be participating in such activity. Another scene has the family taking a snapshot and a much younger Adam is revealed in the actual photograph than the one who was snapped by the camera.

There’s one scene in a club that feels surreal and is entirely engrossing. Adam and Harry have steamy chemistry together that really gels and makes us believe in the romance they create on-screen. Mescal is one of our finest actors, but it is Scott who really keeps the viewer emotionally invested in the material. Scott delivers a multi-faceted performance full of heart that will really move audiences of this film.

Claire Foy is nothing short of terrific here. She soon warms up to the fact that she must love her son regardless of the decisions he makes regarding his sexual preference. Foy and Scott share some scenes together that can make the viewer truly appreciative of the moments in life where family bonds take center stage. Foy is able to bring complexity to a character that could have been written off as just a stereotypical parental one. Bell is also able to add much depth to the father character and the connection the actors have on-screen is undeniably the result of some of the finest screen acting this year.

What if certain aspects in life could be too depressing to deal with sufficiently? This film mentions the fact that Adam had been bullied in the past, for instance. All of Us Strangers offers a solution to that dilemma by imagined circumstances which are heart-wrenching and absolutely fascinating in nature for the viewer to behold.

All of Us Strangers is an interesting title for this picture. It suggests that the way strangers interconnect can grow to become more powerful bonds through love, freedom of expression and true understanding of one another. While Mescal’s Harry is more of a catalyst to express the desires of Scott’s Adam than anything else, Mescal manages to completely make us understand the needs of Harry and the desire he has to be with Adam. However, Scott makes this movie his own right from the word “go” with one of the year’s strongest male performances. In a lesser year, he’d be assured to receive an Oscar nomination. Even in a crowded field of actors like the one this year offers, a nomination could actually happen for Scott.

In the end, much of the enjoyment of Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers depends on what viewers bring to the movie regarding their own pasts and life experiences. The magic of Haigh’s direction is how the viewer can be completely immersed in the experience and see parallels of their own lives in the characters on screen. All of Us Strangers will ultimately floor audiences with its presentation of the pains and passions of life and love. It should certainly be seen with an open mind and an open heart. It is highly recommended.

Rating: 8.5/10

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