All of Us Strangers (2023)
December 22, 2023 8:48 AM - Subscribe

A screenwriter drawn back to his childhood home enters into a fledgling relationship with a mysterious neighbor as he then discovers his parents appear to be living just as they were on the day they died, 30 years before.

"Even if one hasn’t experienced Adam’s particular brand of grief, though, the film—part family melodrama, part intergenerational gay romance, part ghost story—remains acutely heartbreaking. For many gay men of Haigh’s generation (and my own), “All of Us Strangers” expresses the inexpressible: all we didn’t say and still haven’t, and maybe can’t and probably won’t."—Matt Brennan for the Los Angeles Times.

"The film’s exploration of Adam’s queer consciousness, and of his childhood trauma’s reverberations, is both unsubtle and openly sentimental. The period-perfect needle drops are both an undeniable vibe and almost too on the nose, like Adam’s undead mother singing the Pet Shop Boys’ “Always on My Mind” to him while trimming the Christmas tree. But the score also captures the way that we latch onto lyrics that articulate fears and fantasies we’re just beginning to understand, especially when we’re young."—Naveen Kumar for Them.

"Scott’s performance is all in the eyes, which carry a deep well of sadness. Slowly smiles start forming at the periphery of that sadness. It’s the sort of performance most won’t notice as it’s unfolding in front of them, but will recognize its potency when the film reaches its apex."—Murtada Elfadl for AV Club.

"It's not for you. Because you have everything. Everything is for you. And this one thing is for him."—"Wells for Boys" from SNL.
posted by bcwinters (9 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I loved this movie.
posted by kensington314 at 2:36 PM on February 6

I thought there was some beautiful acting in this film (really fine work from Andrew Scott, I knew the Moriarty disaster wasn't his fault), but the filmmaker didn't seem to know how to manage the genre elements that I'm guessing are not his natural form. I haven't read it, but I understand it's based on a straight-up Japanese horror novel. It's not that I mind the dreamlike transitions and casual acceptance of illogic--that it's that kind of movie is signaled early on, it's fine--but the constant dread I had waiting for the other shoe to drop (the contemporary death was obvious to any hardened genre type, but also the fear that--as it turns out, as actually happened in the novel--the past figures were malevolent) interfered with the mood the director was otherwise working so skillfully and delicately to create. And undercut what seemed like it might've been an ultimately hopeful message.

Also, between the sex scenes for actual characterization here, and the matter-of-fact treatment of Monk and Coraline having sex on their second date in American Fiction, are we at last drifting back towards a world of actual adult treatment of sex in films for adults? Where we don't have to choose between the awkwardly horny or the grimly chaste? That would be great.
posted by praemunire at 3:17 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]

Whoa. That was a trip. I was surprised by the down note it ended on. Great performances and very touching though.

When do people think Harry died? I assumed at first it was after the last visit to his parents, but the theory in the reviews seems to be that Harry died after he was first turned away from Adam's door, and Adam had been interacting with his ghost all along.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:56 PM on February 8

That first night after Adam sent him away (which, I have to say, if the movie is trying to suggest he was closed-off for doing, I don't agree; just because you're a gay dude doesn't mean you have to be DTF every drunken rando who bangs on your door at night). He made some awkward reference to suicide in their initial conversation and he says something after they find the body to the effect of "I was just so afraid that night..."

Harry being so upset at the visit to the parents of course reads in the moment (if you haven't already twigged) as his being afraid that Adam has lost his mind and the actual homeowners are going to call the police or whatever, but in retrospect he was terrified to see and be seen by the parents and potentially be nudged closer to his own reality.
posted by praemunire at 2:13 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]

What a beautiful, strange, wonderful film. Andrew Scott is absolutely at the top of his game, with a face that can show so much emotion with just the smallest twitch of his mouth. I loved it.
posted by essexjan at 2:35 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]

Andrew Scott is absolutely at the top of his game, with a face that can show so much emotion with just the smallest twitch of his mouth.

Everybody here watched Fleabag, right?

And his extraordinary take on Hamlet? (The whole play is on YouTube, though I don't want to link to it out of a probably misguided fear that it'll get a takedown notice)
posted by bcwinters at 7:44 PM on February 15

Script Apart podcast has an interview with writer-director Andrew Haigh.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:40 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]

This is on Hulu now. It's gorgeous.

I don't know how Andrew Scott does that. He's world-weary and sad and also childlike and vulnerable in the same moment.

It hit a few things I expected but also took a turn I didn't expect. It was more than I thought but I'm still really glad I watched it. What a beautiful movie.
posted by edencosmic at 5:35 PM on February 22

We watched this last night, and we watched the trailer first just to confirm it was a movie we wanted to watch. After the trailer I said “sure, let’s watch it” and my husband said “okay but now I feel like I’ve basically seen the movie.” But after seeing the movie, it seems more like the trailer was for… a totally different movie, like when people made “romantic comedy” trailers for The Shining.

I can’t tell how I feel about this movie. I don’t even know how I’m supposed to feel! I’m disappointed the beautiful relationship between the two leads was all… imagined, hallucinated, whatever. I feel like the movie tried to end on a hopeful note, but it did not leave me feeling hope.

I will say the on screen intimacy may be some of the best I’ve ever seen.
posted by obfuscation at 6:15 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]

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