I’ve always said that writers know less about the real world than just about anyone else.
That’s writer-director Andrew Haigh, speaking through one of the characters in his latest feature ALL OF US STRANGERS, a mood and memory piece of breathtaking emotional power. Perhaps this character is right. The film opens with protagonist Adam (Andrew Scott) in front of his laptop, attempting to start a screenplay but getting nowhere. All of London extends outside of his high-rise apartment windows, and day turns to dusk as Adam listlessly putters—checking the fridge for leftovers, napping, shuffling a mental catalogue to evoke the imaginary.
After nightfall, Adam answers a knock on the door. It’s his neighbor Harry (Paul Mescal), who has seen Adam looking at him from the window of his flat and who is now inviting himself in for… company and whatever else may arise. After a bit of confusion—and noting Harry’s somewhat drunken state—Adam declines. Of course, Harry will eventually be asked in, and a one night stand will turn into an apparently seamless affair.
In the meantime, Adam takes a train ride out of town, disembarking in a countryside of fields and villages. Across an expanse, before a grove of trees, an attractive man in his late thirties beckons. Is this a pick-up? And why is this man, who looks vaguely familiar, leading Adam back to his childhood home? And so Haigh—filming in the house he grew up in—allows Adam to pick up his past and conjure, with ambiguity and wonder, what might have been.
ALL OF US STRANGERS—based on a novel by Taichi Yamada—is now playing in cinemas. See links below for details.
ALL OF US STRANGERS
Written and directed by Andrew Haigh
8000 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
AMC Century City
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles
Monica Film Center
1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica
Watch Andrew Haigh, Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Claire Foy, and Jamie Bell in conversation with Dave Karger.
Andrew Haigh, All of Us Strangers (2023), from top: Andrew Scott (behind hand) and Paul Mescal; Scott, photograph by Chris Harris; Scott and Mescal; Jamie Bell, photograph by Chris Harris; Scott, Bell, and Claire Foy; All of Us Strangers U.S. poster; Foy and Scott; Mescal and Scott; Scott.