All of Us Strangers by Andrew Haigh [9/10]

British writer/director Andrew Haigh made a powerful impression on me with his streaming show adaptation of The North Water. His new arthouse film, All of Us Strangers, is an unashamedly emotional, yet gritty, exploration of loneliness, grief, and love. Andrew Scott turns on a virtuoso performance as a depressed, awkward screenwriter who stumbles into an erotic relationship with a suave, swaggering co-tenant (played with customary brilliance by Paul Mescale) in his near empty apartment block. Concurrently he revisits his childhood home in the countryside, only to find his dead parents seemingly alive and welcoming. Claire Foy and Jamie Bell excel with subtlety in these two roles. The movie, presented with broad swathes of images and atmospheric music, plays out this psychological exploration of the past against the burgeoning relationship, and in writing that, I’m aware it sounds bland, yet Andrew Haigh manages to infuse every scene with an eerie, almost horror-centric tone that is utterly absorbing. The three themes of gay life in England, the need to resolve ancient grief, and the challenge of committing to love, are artfully and, dare I say it, dramatically played out as the imagined parental reunion scenes grow in poignancy. I found myself powerfully moved by All of Us Strangers but can imagine some viewers would instead find the plot devices jarring. Do check it out.

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