All the Standout Movies We’ve Seen at New York Film Festival This Year

Poor Things, May December, The Boy and the Heron, and more hotly anticipated films, reviewed here.


All of Us Strangers

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All of Us Strangers
Image: Searchlight Pictures

Adapted from my full-length review:

Andrew Haigh’s deeply moving story largely takes place in its protagonist Adam’s (Fleabag’s Andrew Scott) head—he’s a writer in contemporary London, working on a screenplay set in 1987. (The screenplay, which Haigh wrote, is loosely based on the 1987 novel Strangers by Taichi Yamada.) As Adam writes, he travels back to the home where he was raised to visit with his parents, whom we find out died in a car accident when he was 12. They receive him as a middle-aged man—as a result, son and parents are basically the same age—and a series of conversations takes place about Adam’s life, including his sexuality; like many of Haigh’s protagonists and Haigh himself, Adam is gay. Through this device, Haigh shows the writing process in addition to his character’s internal journey, two of the hardest things to capture on film in any way that doesn’t bore viewers to death. That they live and breathe here is a feat in itself.

Adam’s relationship with a man who lives in his building named Harry (Paul Mescal) is less fraught. The relationship is a refuge, a home away from the home in Adam’s head. It’s a source of unconditional love beyond that which he feels coming with reservations from his parents. It makes the past suffering worth it. It’s, in many ways, a prototypical healing gay relationship. Haigh takes a risk by repeating a lot of the topes we’ve witnessed to death in gay stories, but the holistic picture he paints about pain and healing is a fresh structure. It speaks to the universality of some experiences—gay canon events, if you will—among the highly varied lives that we all live.

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