‘All of Us Strangers’ focuses on forgiveness and grief

“All of Us Strangers,” starring Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Claire Foy and Jamie Bell, is an enchanting, heartbreaking tale of grief and reconciliation. 

The film follows Adam, a screen-writer living in London, as he deals with the death of his parents well into adulthood and forms a relationship with fellow apartment tenant Harry.

The memories of his past haunt his day-to-day life, affecting both his relationship with himself and Harry. He continues to visit his childhood home, where the ghosts of his parents seem to be living as if nothing had happened. 

It was written and directed by Andrew Haigh, but based on the 1987 novel “Strangers” by Taichi Yamada. Yamada was able to co-write the script for the film, and while the two are quite different, both stories are captivating. Haigh put his own, unique personal twist on it, even using his childhood home as Adam’s.

The cinematography in this movie was absolutely breathtaking. Done by Jamie Ramsay, most known for his work on the 2022 films “See How They Run” and “Living,” I kept finding myself noting how spectacular the camera work was. It was subtle yet astonishing, gentle and tender. Ramsay knew exactly how to show Adam as a heartbroken child trapped in an adult body. 

Two specific scenes come to mind. The first is when Harry is in the elevator after first being rejected by Adam. His reflection goes on and on in the mirror as he slowly sips from a bottle of alcohol. The second is when Adam goes to hug his father after a tough conversation, but rather than his adult self being shown after a camera shift, it is him as a child. 

It is hard to describe the beauty of the film, so I highly recommend you watch it yourself. The color palette on its own is gorgeous, with stunning shades of blue, orange and purple. 

Scott’s performance as Adam was riveting. I have not seen any of his other works, including Paul McCartney in “Lennon Naked” and Jim Moriarty in “Sherlock,” but I can tell he is an excellent actor. Mescal also did a wonderful job, as well as Foy. Bell was not in the movie as frequently as the others, but he did have incredible lines of dialogue. 

It is no surprise that the film was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2024 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTA). The script was gut-wrenching and poetic, and the actors did an unbelievable job delivering the lines.

Letterboxd user @max puts it perfectly, writing in a five-star review, “yeah so that was a movie. awesome. didn’t cry but felt like throwing up which’s worse.” They included several lines of dialogue beneath this to prove the point.

The only qualm I had with the film was its plot twist. I thought I knew the message the movie was sending, that grief is not static and forgiveness is an important factor in moving on, but once something was revealed within the last 15 minutes, I was very confused.

Apparently, the message is more-so that of the value of letting people in when trying to heal — and the consequences of shutting people out. While this is still a great lesson, it felt rushed and did not give me the happy ending I was craving for Adam and Harry.

However, I could argue that the not-so happy ending is incredibly real, whether I choose to accept it or not. In a five-star review, Letterboxd user @anahit wrote, “grief as refusal is the most honest version of it…” 

After watching, I was set on giving it four stars because of the ending. However, upon reflecting, I think it deserves a five out of five. I have not stopped thinking about the film since I saw it, and now I am eager to get my hands on a copy of Yamada’s “Stranger” and boycott the BAFTAs for not recognizing the absolute greatness that this film is.


5/5 stars




Featured photo courtesy of @aoustrangers, Instragram