Credit: Searchlight Pictures

Grief, time and love: an All of Us Strangers review

By Caitlin MacDonald

In Andew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers, memories, grief, and queer love combine as one.

Can we live in the past forever? When is it time to let go? Can we ever? These are all questions All of Us Strangers attempts to answer (or at least ponder). All of Us Strangers centres on Adam (Andrew Scott), a screenwriter struggling to write about his deceased parents, who encounters Harry (Paul Mescal), a fellow loner who lives in the same new build high riser in Manchester. There is a real sense of isolation in both of their lives; neither see their family, neither are seen with friends or anyone else. Their apartments are stocked for food for one, empty fridges with leftover Chinese. The apartment block itself is sparsely populated, with ghostly hallways and vacant lifts in which seemingly very few people inhabit. This is indicative of the film itself, with a small cast and only a few locations, closed off and private. Loneliness is the main character of All of Us Strangers and ultimately, is what drives the plot forward.  

Despite a strong quartet of actors who do the best with what they’ve got, All of Us Strangers is a complete misfire. This is a film about gay people, made by gay people but for straight audiences, clinical and accessible in a way that detracts from its message. Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal’s chemistry is not the strongest (only exacerbated by Mescal’s terrible Manc accent), with their scenes off-kilter and emotionless. Coupled with this is All of Us Strangers’ mediocre and at times, outright unrealistic, script that is the only thing that guides our fake characters through their fake world.

All of Us Strangers’ gravest sin, however, is its ending. There are hints throughout the film that allude to the truth of what is happening, woven between Adam’s hallucinations and dreams and nightmares but ultimately, they allow the twist to be easily guessed. More annoying, is the reveal regarding Harry’s character, which is downright insulting to audiences. All of Us Strangers is less interested in conveying a powerful story, of love and tragedy and new beginnings and endings, and more concerned with pulling the rug out from under you, no matter how cheap the execution is.

Nostalgia is sickly sweet and All of Us Strangers gorges on it until it is big and bloated and off track. Like Adam’s own screenplay that we see briefly, All of Us Strangers goes nowhere and is easily forgotten.   

All of Us Strangers is in UK cinemas now.  


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First, You’ve mis-spelt Andrew in the first line. 2. The high rise Adam and Harry live in is in London, not Manchester. 3. Did you actually see the same film as millions of other people? It certainly seems not…

Last edited 2 months ago by Josh
Helen Murti

So many errors in this review. Harry’s accent is from Leeds. Adam’s childhood house is in Croydon (London). The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is in London. All of Us Strangers is about familial love and romantic love. Most people have found it to be deeply moving and utterly heartbreaking, not ‘sickly sweet’. I find it insulting that you thought this piece of terrible typing was worthy of publishing.

Jennifer Hornsby

And it’s a film about gay men—as opposed to gay people, as the reviewer says.