REVIEW: Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal are devastating in All of Us Strangers


There’s a scene in All Of Us Strangers where Andrew Scott wakes from a nightmare screaming. Paul Mescal holds him until he calms, asking where he is and what day it is. He tells him he was shouting for his parents in the club, and that he brought him home to look after him.

The eagerly anticipated film, directed by Andrew Haigh, has finally landed in Irish cinemas – and it’s already set to be one of the most talked about movies of the year.

One night during a fire drill, Adam (Andrew Scott) meets Harry (Paul Mescal), another man who’s also living alone, and also struggling with it. Harry’s drunk and asks if he can come into Adam’s apartment. Adam declines, afraid of what might happen, before eventually deciding that he wants to get to know this lonely man who lives below him.

While the pair begin a relationship, Adam begins visiting his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell), who died in a car crash when he was a child. In their family home, he chats to them about his life, his sexuality, and how things are “different” for queer people now – all the while recognising that things may not be all that different for him.


All Of Us Strangers is about loss and loneliness, but it’s also about memory, hope, and finding love in unlikely places. The film presents grief as something non-liner, a feeling that never really goes away but changes over time, growing alongside a person as they get older, meet new people, and continue their life alone.

“It happened a long time ago,” says Adam, to which Harry responds: “Yeah, I don’t think that matters.” The pair’s relationship grows in this vein, with a muted intensity dominated by nights in, nights out, passionate sex, and candid conversations; discussions that neither man has seemingly had for a long time about family, being queer, and living in London.

It’s not just their words that speak of loneliness – it’s the space they inhabit. Some of the only people living in their apartment block, the hallways are empty and cold. Adam often stares out the window at nothing. Upon meeting, Harry references the all encompassing quiet of the place, the fact that you can’t hear a single other human being around.

Sexuality and queerness are depicted with a tenderness that flits between being gentle and raw, sometimes both at once. Meeting with his mother, Adam struggles to explain that being gay in the 2020s means something very different to what it meant in the ’80s. Or at least, it’s supposed to.

His conversations with his father provide some kind of closure around the strained relationship between a hyper-masculine English father and a pre-teen trying to figure out who he is. It’s important, but it’s never enough.

All Of Us Strangers is a ghost story, but it’s also a story about longing, loss, and as the film’s beautifully curated soundtrack so aptly suggests, the power of love. But if you’re eager for a wholesome romance that’s going to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, maybe leave this one in your to-watch list for a little longer.

As someone on Letterboxd said: “if Paul Mescal is at the club, you know you’re in for a sad time.”

All Of Us Strangers is out in Irish cinemas on Jan 26

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