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All Of Us Strangers | Review

Spoiler Warning: Bring Some Tissues and an Emotional Support Friend 

By Amelia Boag McGlynn

Rating: 5/5

Drawing of Andrew Scott. Image: WisesnailArt on deviantart. License: CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported

Last night, I stepped unprepared into Aberdeen’s Cineworld to watch Andrew Haigh’s new queer romance, All of Us Strangers, starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal. Like many people my age, I was charmed by both of their performances in Fleabag and Normal People, respectively, so I was naively excited to watch my two favourite Irish boys on the big screen. The next 1 hour and 45 minutes of my life were then consumed by one of the most heart-wrenching, achingly beautiful films I have ever had the luck to encounter.  

Haigh paints a picture of Scott’s protagonist Adam, a lonely, 40-something-year-old screenwriter, as he is pulled back into the haze of his childhood home. As his scripts unravel, he is transported into the past, safe at home with his parents who appear as they were the day before a sudden and tragic car wreck that killed them both. As his confusion and desire for his parents grows, he burgeons a mystifying new relationship with his young neighbour Harry, played by Mescal. 

All of Us Strangers is deeply engaging throughout, weaving a heartbreaking narrative that dips in and out of reality as the story unwinds. The plot follows a pattern of pain that has only increased with time, executed perfectly by the beauty and brilliance of Scott and Mescal’s performance. 

I am a huge fan of Andrew Scott and often walk away from his work astounded – but All of Us Strangers is different.

I’m more than confident to call it the performance of his career.

His gut-wrenching delivery of Adam losing his parents once again made me weep-- and then immediately want to call my mum and dad. His movement from intense hurt to subtle humour was seamless, creating a character that was utterly exceptional, and entirely human. 

Equally, Mescal was mesmerising in his role as  Harry, showing a side of emotional vulnerability that left me captivated. His raw description of being a societal outsider tapped into a range of emotions that seemed to resonate deeply with the audience. Scott and Mescal’s talents together are a force to be reckoned with, elevating the movie to untouchable heights with their combined talent and unforgettable chemistry. Claire Foy and Jamie Bell deserve their flowers as well, particularly when tasked with the challenge of acting as caring parents of a man who was ten years older than themselves. Their performance was perfect and made Adam’s loss of his childhood cut even deeper.  

The score added to the haunting aura that shrouded the entire movie. The stand-out song to me was ‘Always on My Mind’ by the Pet Shop Boys, sung softly by Foy to Scott as they decorated the Christmas tree one last time. I felt aghast, weeping as Foy’s ghost whispered “I’m so happy that you are mine…You were always on my mind” to her grown son sitting childlike in front of her. 

By the end of the film, there was an air of disbelief lingering over the cinema as the lights rose. I saw many people scramble to wipe their eyes before the lights exposed their tears. Cinematically, All of Us Strangers was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed before. It felt as if the 40-odd audience members left trauma-bonded with one another. Without a doubt, 5 stars.


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