In his new film, director Andrew Haigh explores the question of what it would be like to get in touch with the past and to be able to talk about everything that has remained unspoken and unanswered for years. An unusual mix of drama and fantasy, All of Us Strangers is also a film about (queer) loneliness and isolation and the quiet glimmer of hope that the right encounter at the right time can bring.
After Haigh’s work was shown at festivals last year and received stormy enthusiasm, All of Us Strangers is now opening in our cinemas. You shouldn’t miss this superbly staged, emotionally overwhelming work on the big screen.
Fantasy elements meet emotional drama: That’s the story of All of Us Strangers
Haigh’s film revolves around the screenwriter Adam (Andrew Scott), who lives in an anonymous high-rise building in London and apparently hardly has any interpersonal contacts. One day his younger neighbor Harry (Paul Mescal) shows up drunk at his door and a romantic relationship develops between the two.
Adam also begins to travel regularly to his childhood home in the London suburbs. Here he meets his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell), who look the same age as him actually died in a car accident over 30 years ago are.
Cinema tip All of Us Strangers mixes the past, present, imagination and ghosts to create a fantasy storm of emotions
When Adam meets his parents, which Haigh stages unclearly between imagination and ghostly apparition, time has stopped. The main character has the opportunity to educate his father and mother from the 80s about modernity, but above all about his life and all the personal developments between his professional career and open homosexuality.
This is how All of Us Strangers becomes Bridge between past and present without falling into nostalgic glorification. Haigh’s film tackles the real feelings of guilt and burning questions that one sometimes carries with oneself for years because the opportunity to express them has passed forever.
All of Us Strangers
But the mix of quiet fantasy elements and melancholic romance never really becomes tangible. The brief conversations between Adam and his parents often have something dreamlike, otherworldly about them, as if the screenwriter had designed them for a new project.
Flashes of humor in conversations seem out of place and decades of deep-seated pain are fleetingly addressed, sometimes erupting explosively. And yet Adam’s family portrait, which has a supernatural touch, appears fragile and incomplete.
Later in the film, Adam and Harry go out partying together and going to the club on ketamine splinters All of Us Strangers to the kaleidoscope in which Reality and fantasy can hardly be distinguished from each other. This makes Haig’s final punchline all the more concrete, bringing Adam’s existence between pain and hope to a bittersweet extreme. Ghosts only exist to remind us of life.
All of Us Strangers is in cinemas now. At the end of 2024, the film is guaranteed to appear again in many top 10 lists of the year.
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