All of Us Strangers
Older than his parents would ever grow, scriptwriter Adam (played by Andrew Scott) decides to write about his mother (Claire Foy) and father (Jamie Bell), and envisions how they would receive the person he has become. Between penance and self-soothing, the emotional endeavour is complicated by an intriguing stranger (Paul Mescal), who knocks on Adam’s door one lonely night, aching for company.
Not only due to Mescal’s recent success with Aftersun, All of Us Strangers feels like a quintessential MUBI acquisition (on top of the aforementioned, it also bears similarities to The Five Devils and Petite Maman), but was surprisingly picked up by Searchlight for distribution.
In this loose adaptation of Taichi Yamada’s novel Strangers, director Andrew Haigh (Weekend) effortlessly intertwines British realism with fantasy elements.
The cinematography and visual composition are truly mesmerising, from the breathtaking opening shot of the sun rising in Adam’s face, to smooth transitions where reflections of the city lights in the apartment window turn into the neon red and blues of a pulsing nightclub.
While the acting is altogether stirring, it is worth emphasising Scott’s fearless lead performance. The feature’s most poignant scene involves Scott and Bell in the best father-son heart-to-heart since Call Me By Your Name.
The focus was decidedly placed on Adam’s relationship with his parents, and by comparison, the storyline with Mescal comes across as less fleshed out. Perhaps the unromantic, matter-of-fact progression to lovers was intended as a contrast to the significantly more sentimental storyline set in his childhood home, but it weakens some of the later developments in their emotional impact. The clichéd song choices (The Power of Love) are no adequate substitute for the powerful writing that makes up the main action, and as such the tale of romance risks leaving some of the audience’s heartfelt engagement behind.
Nonetheless, this indie drama about strangers sharing spaces is arguably one of the highlights at the London Film Festival.
All of Us Strangers is released nationwide on 26th January 2024.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2023 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for All of Us Strangers here: