All of Us Strangers

An uneasy study of the power of love

Andrew Scott has established a solid reputation as a character actor, channeling his fierce intelligence into memorable roles. He was terrific as Moriarty opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes and as the priest seduced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag. So it’s good to see him in a lead role, and he makes it an intense, career best.

He plays a lonely screenwriter in a new, near-empty London apartment block who enters into a gay relationship with a mysterious downstairs neighbor (Paul Mescal). At the same time, he’s mysteriously drawn back to his suburban home, where his parents (Jamie Bell & Claire Foy) died in a car crash 30 years earlier.

They’re still there. But they’re younger than he, in fact have not aged since their deaths. Ghosts? A hallucination? A dream? We are not told and ultimately it doesn’t matter. Through a series of conversations, we come to understand about second chances and resolving the unsaid.

Kind of a hard film to categorize. While it features a gay lead, was made by a gay director (Andrew Haigh – Lean on Pete, 45 Years) and includes some gay sex scenes, I can’t really call it a gay film. Or, despite the potentially maudlin material, a downer. It often plays more like fantasy, or even a thriller. Telling you which fantasy thriller it suggests at the end would constitute a spoiler. Suffice it to say it’s hugely satisfying, heartfelt and cathartic. Beautiful photography by Jamie D. Ramsay. From a novel by Taichi Yamada.

This one will make you a better person. (105 min)