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‘All of Us Strangers’ (4K digital UHD review)

Disney

What would you say if you could have a conversation with a loved one after they had passed?

All of Us Strangers follows London-based writer Adam (Andrew Scott), his budding romance with neighbor Harry (Paul Mescal), and how this intertwines with Adam envisioning conversations with his deceased parents (Jamie Bell and Claire Foy), whom he lost after they were in a car crash when he 12.

This may sound like the outline for a whimsical supernatural flick, but despite the fantastical premise, All of Us Strangers is a sublimely grounded film that examines how loss early in life may impact us as adults, and how unanswered questions can pose substantial existential conundrums as a result.

More specifically, since Adam is a gay man who was a kid in the 80s, he never got the chance to come out to his parents before they died, so this becomes the starting point of his conversations.

Knowing the specifics of those conversations will not spoil the viewing experience as such, but suffice it to say that Adam carries a lot of emotional baggage from being gay in the 80s, where queerness was vilified without reservation, and considering how some people today stubbornly cling on to their ignorance and hate towards anything outside the heteronormative binary, this is an interesting subject to examine, both with regard to historical and contemporary contexts.

More than that, though, the film is about interpersonal relationships, both between child and parent, as well as how we form relationships as adults.

Adam’s relationship with Harry is at once both tender and fragile, and there is both beauty and tragedy in how it unfolds, as the arc the two characters embark on is deeply nuanced and unpredictable.

As for how Adam’s relationship with his parents unfolds as he imagines it, the way it encapsulates how the loss of his parents has impacted him is heartbreaking in a delicately devastating way that plucks at the heartstrings in a manner that is sincere rather than sensationalist.

When a film presents a premise of communicating with those who have left us, the focus is usually on ramping up the fantastical circumstances making this possible, however, All of Us Strangers never seeks to explain the logistics of the setting or circumstances here.

Instead, the emphasis is solely on the contents of those conversations and the emotional impact associated therewith, making the film stand out as at once both deeply vulnerable and unabashedly bold in terms of its themes and how it handles them.

In order to make such a premise work, the acting has to be exceptional, and Andrew Scott delivers a monumental performance, but Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell and Claire Foy also turn in pitch perfect efforts, resulting in this quartet of performances all complimenting and elevating one another to an extraordinary degree.

As a result, All of Us Strangers makes for a deeply emotional film about family, prejudice, love and grief, and, if given the chance, the things we might ask those who were taken from us too soon.

Extras include two featurettes.

Verdict: 10 out of 10.

 

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