“All of Us Strangers” Review

“All of Us Strangers” Review

Photo Credit: Searchlight Pictures 

A beautifully devastating film about love, loneliness, and grief  

Lois Lee, Contributor  

After a hectic start to the winter semester, I decided that the best way to lift my spirits was to embark on one of my favourite activities — a solo trip to the cinema. Although I had a general idea of the film’s premise beforehand, little did I know that All of Us Strangers (2023) would completely shatter my heart, but in the best way possible.  

The story centres around an intimate ensemble of characters. Adam (Andrew Scott) is an orphaned screenwriter who, one day, meets his parents’ spirits (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) several decades after their deaths. While Adam regularly visits his (ghost) parents and reconciles with childhood memories of them before they passed, he also develops a romantic relationship with his apartment neighbour, Harry (Paul Mescal).  

The film expertly lets these relationships play out simultaneously, allowing us to witness a convergence of Adam’s past and present. We are gently guided through Adam’s journey of yearning, as he unpacks the longevity of his parents’ death and strives to situate their supposed presence in his current stage of adulthood. Ultimately, Adam’s reunion with his late parents presents a desire that many of us long for: the ability to go back in time and redefine the course of our familial relationships.  

Through Adam’s romantic relationship with Harry, we also see how the film carefully showcases intersecting experiences of loneliness — the grief that comes from losing family members alongside a sense of isolation that comes from being queer. I found this to be such a nuanced exploration, showcasing how loneliness is a multi-dimensional force that permeates through various aspects of our identities and lives. Therefore, I feel as though this film purposely exhibits a tense serenity that urges us to dig into our experiences and reflect on our own relationships with solitude.  

Throughout this film, I was enthralled by the tight-knit cast. I’m especially eager to praise Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal’s incredible chemistry, as they seamlessly come together to authentically portray vulnerability and candour in their on-screen romance. It is also worth noting that all actors, including Claire Foy and Jamie Bell, gave a satisfyingly tear-jerking performance that underscored the unique dynamics in each of Adam’s relationships. As the film quickly moved between Adam’s separate encounters with his mother, his father, and Harry, I was able to connect and empathize with every character on a much deeper level than I expected. I began to understand how each of them perceived love and solitude in different, but also similar, ways, and how these emotions can manifest differently across generations.  

Overall, All of Us Strangers is a heartbreaking yet hopeful viewing experience with an exceptional cast and a profound exploration of what it means to grieve, love, and work through our fears of loneliness. The overtly emotional reactions to this film are completely justified, and I have to say, I was so moved by this film that it almost felt like a disservice not to cry.