Though its specifics deal with LGBTQ issues, All of Us Strangers gets universal appeal from the quote “what if” concept. What if we could have those conversations and interactions we missed before? What if we could go back and say what we mean? Basing his film on a novel by Taichi Yamada, screenwriter-director Andrew Haigh creates a wistful, melancholy piece for the arthouse circuit, one that resonates from fine acting. Fleabag’s Andrew Scott heads the cast as Adam, an incredibly lonely man living in a strangely isolated apartment building. Scott’s Golden Globe nominated performance features both the nuance of close ups and the body language of a man shifting between grown up traits and those of a young boy. Adam’s adult life puts him in touch with a lone neighbor played by Paul Mescal, an Oscar nominee from 2022’s Aftersun. As the two develop an explicit relationship, Adam also returns to the childhood home he left 30 years previously after the death of his parents. Finding them there as ghosts, he makes repeat visits that lead to deeper connections, shifting between the little boy they knew and the adult he grows into. Beautifully played by The Crown’s Claire Foy and Jamie Bell of Billy Elliot, Adam’s parents round out the film’s appeal for understanding and care. Not surprisingly, none of this happens in a rushed manner. Director Haigh tells his story with lingering camera work, capturing the nuance of performance and emotion with no need for special effects in the fantasy world he portrays. Ghosts look like people, and settings stay grounded in London and its surroundings. And though fantasy predominates, the ultimate result is reality, the reality of wishful thinking and a desire for closure.
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