The London Film Festival is known for showcasing outstanding films that leave a lasting impact on audiences. All of Us Strangers is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen and is my highlight of LFF 2023. Directed by Andrew Haigh, this mesmerising piece of cinema offers a powerful and emotional exploration of love, grief, and the healing power of human connection.
All of Us Strangers revolves around the life of Adam, a struggling screenwriter played brilliantly by Andrew Scott. The film opens with Adam gazing at the London skyline, setting the tone for a poignant journey that lies ahead. As Adam navigates his daily life, he encounters Harry, his only neighbour, portrayed convincingly by Paul Mescal. Their first meeting is marked by an awkward encounter during a fire alarm, sparking a connection that gradually blossoms into something profound.
As the film progresses, All of Us Strangers takes an unexpected turn with a metaphysical element. Adam, in his quest for inspiration as a screenwriter, revisits his childhood home and reunites with his long-deceased parents, played by Jamie Bell and Claire Foy. Haigh masterfully blends the realms of reality and fantasy, presenting a captivating exploration of grief and the longing for lost loved ones.
Themes of Love, Loneliness, and Identity
At its core, All of Us Strangers delves into the complexities of love, loneliness, and identity. The film beautifully portrays the transformative power of love, as Adam’s relationship with Harry provides solace and a sense of belonging. Simultaneously, it highlights the lingering effects of grief and the search for closure. Through Adam’s interactions with his parents, the film invites audiences to reflect on their own relationships with their past, questioning what they would say to their lost loved ones if given the chance.
Andrew Scott: A Nuanced Portrayal of Grief
Andrew Scott’s performance as Adam in All of Us Strangers is nothing short of exceptional. With his trademark intensity and vulnerability, Scott brings a depth to the character that resonates with audiences on a profound level. His portrayal of grief and longing for connection is both heart-wrenching and relatable, solidifying his reputation as one of the finest actors of his generation.
Paul Mescal: Captivating and Charismatic
Paul Mescal, known for his breakout role in Normal People, continues to impress with his portrayal of Harry in All of Us Strangers. Mescal effortlessly captures the essence of a free-spirited and outgoing individual, providing a perfect counterbalance to Adam’s reserved nature. His on-screen chemistry with Scott is palpable, adding another layer of authenticity to their evolving relationship.
Jamie Bell and Claire Foy: Convincing as Adam’s Parents
Playing the roles of Adam’s parents, Jamie Bell and Claire Foy deliver powerful performances that anchor the film’s emotional core. Despite the fantastical nature of their appearances, Bell and Foy infuse their characters with a sense of familiarity and warmth. Their presence elicits a mix of joy and sorrow, as audiences witness the bittersweet reunion between Adam and his long-lost parents.
A Visual Feast
Visually, All of Us Strangers is a feast for the eyes. The cinematography by Jamie D. Ramsay captures the essence of each scene, from the sun-drenched London skyline to the nostalgic interiors of Adam’s childhood home. The attention to detail and the use of light and shadows create a mesmerizing atmosphere, enhancing the film’s emotional impact.
The Power of Love
The film’s soundtrack is another standout aspect, featuring a blend of nostalgic ’80s tracks and an ethereal score by composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch. Songs like The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the Pet Shop Boys’ Always On My Mind add depth and resonance to key moments, creating an immersive sonic experience.
Final Thoughts: A Film to Remember
All of Us Strangers is a cinematic masterpiece that will stay with viewers long after the credits roll. It’s firmly earned its place as one of my favourite films ever. Andrew Haigh’s direction, coupled with outstanding performances from Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell, and Claire Foy, creates a film that is both emotionally resonant and visually captivating. This exploration of love, grief, and the power of human connection is a testament to the enduring impact of cinema. Be prepared to laugh, cry, and reflect on your own relationships as you watch this – and prepare for the unexpected.