All of Us Strangers

DRAMA; 1hr 45min

STARRING: Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell, Claire Foy

Home fires: from left, Bell, Scott and Foy

If reality is a question of individual perception, how dramatically can sorrow and loneliness reshape its parameters? Scriptwriter Adam (Scott, aka Fleabag ’s Hot Priest, as if you didn’t know) is engulfed in solitude. Alone in the glass nest of his London flat, he is an untouched spectator in the clouds. His flirty neighbour Harry (Aftersun ’s Mescal) is about to change that, although not before Adam revisits his childhood home, in which his parents (Bell and Foy), who were killed in a car crash 30 years ago when he was about to turn 12, are still alive and thriving at the age they were back then.


Adam takes his folks’ reappearance in stride, almost as if he were waiting for them. In short order, he is drawn back to the house for a heart-to-heart in his unchanged bedroom with his loving mother, who can’t believe how much older he is. Observed from Adam's point of view, every prosaic detail of his ongoing, impossible encounters feels absolutely real, raising the questions of both his mental health and whether Harry, who has become his lover, could also be a creation of need.


To the psyche of a grieving man, fact and fiction are sometimes membrane-thin. 45 Years writer-director Andrew Haigh’s kid-glove handling of Taichi Yamada’s 1987 novel Strangers, grounds the honeytrap of fantasy in the anguish of loss, drawn by a flayed Scott from what looks to be a depthless reservoir of longing. Adam’s hunger to remake the past is a reflection of everything he can never regain. The spirits who give him shelter wish only to help him heal.