We are well into awards season now and with that comes the serious, sombre and on occasion moving films. ‘All of us strangers’ is all those things. Based on the book Strangers by Taichi Yamada this stars Andrew Scott as Adam who self deprecatingly describes himself as ‘Not a proper writer – I write screenplays’. He lives alone and seemingly the sole occupant of a block of flats apart from Harry (Paul Mescal) who knocks on his door late one night slightly worse the wear for drink. For Harry It’s a bit of opportunism having caught Adam’s eye from afar but is gently rebuffed.
And yet Adam is lonely still never having really got over the death of both his parents when he was only 12 years old and in a bid to conquer his childhood trauma he returns to his family home in the suburbs outside London to find his parents still seemingly living there and greeting him like he’s popped down for one of his infrequent visits. His parents haven’t really changed and in a number of increasingly moving scenes he gets the chance to talk to them about childhood incidents to his father and comes out to his mother. It’s a brilliant conceit – the chance to speak to your parents about issues and matters that have never been resolved whilst he relationship with Harry flourishes with the chance of him finally finding happiness and contentment in his life.
‘All of us strangers’ has four quite brilliant performances and Andrew Scott, who has always been good in whatever he’s been in in whether it be in Bond film ‘Spectre’ or TV comedy ‘Fleabag’, but this is a career best performance and it’s a remarkable oversight of BAFTA not to have nominated him. Both Paul Mescal and Claire Foy, who plays his mother, do have nominations and Foy is especially good as the mother out of step with modern times concerned that her son can’t have children and will be lonely. He is of course lonely but this might all now change for the long time single man ow that Harry is on the scene.
Director Andrew Haigh’s previous films have examined relationships brilliantly and his 2015 film, ‘45 years’ and its portrayal of a marriage disintegrating is excellent with a devastating end shot as there is here which has divided opinions. That he has elicited such great performances from his four cast members is a testament to his skills in handling such sensitive and emotional material especially in several of the intimate scenes. He is one of Britain’s great film directors and this is one of the years great films.
related feature : Andrew Scott & Joe Alwyn chat to us about ‘Catherine Called Birdy‘
Here’s the All of us strangers trailer….