On Wednesday I had the chance to see All of Us Strangers at the State Theater. The movie runs 1 hour 45 minutes and is set in present day London, where Adam (Andrew Scott) and Harry (Paul Mescal) are the only two tenants in a high rise apartment. Right away you can feel how isolated each character is from the outside world. After the fire alarm is pulled, Harry and Adam are introduced to each other and strike up a friendship which quickly turns romantic. All while this is happening, Adam intermittently takes trips to his childhood home where he convenes with his his parents who both passed away in a car accident 20 years earlier.
While I thought the movie was initially a little slow to start, once it picked up I was totally enthralled in the intensity of the story. I found myself appreciating the movies pared down opening more and more as the story went on, because it established the intense loneliness that each character experiences. The mystery of how Adam is able to communicate with his parents is left open ended, but it’s also something I didn’t have any trouble believing. The open-endedness gives the visits the feeling they could be taken away at any moment, and for that reason it makes them all the more precious. A lot of the movie focuses on Adam’s relationship with his parents, and the situation is set up in a way that allows him to ask his parents the questions that have been haunting him since their death. I thought this was really interesting, especially because he’s older now than his parents were when they died. Even as an adult, his character wants the chance to go back and revisit things he experienced in childhood. It made me think about how the things that happen to you as a kid stay with you, and even after moving on from the death of his parents as best he could, apart of him is stuck wondering what that time with them would have been like. I also thought it was an interesting way of describing loss. Adam never had any big outburst, and generally is pretty subdued, but instead used the visits with his parents as an opportunity to do the things with them that he misses the most.
Overall I thought the movie was very thoughtful and unique, and approached loss in a way I haven’t really seen before. It’s definitely stuck with me over the past week, and I keep catching myself thinking about it since I saw it a couple days ago.
The run time 1 hr 45 mins
Picture from michigantheater.org