Director Andrew Haigh’s latest film “All of Us Strangers” is receiving widespread critical acclaim and positioning itself as an early Oscar contender following its premiere this week. The meditative drama explores grief, trauma, and the connective power of love with exceptional performances from its talented cast.
Haunted by personal demons, two men find hope in each other
Centering on the chance encounter between grieving Irish factory worker Seamus (Paul Mescal) and Richard (Andrew Scott), a troubled English professor hiding from a scandal in his past, “All of Us Strangers” charts an unlikely romance born out of mutual loneliness and trauma. Gently unfolding through evocative slice-of-life vignettes enhanced by Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch’s hypnotic score, their tender relationship becomes a lifeline as both men confront suppressed demons from their pasts.
“All of Us Strangers drifts on currents of repressed memory and cloaked identity before arriving at a conclusion that’s more mystical than medical…it casts a lingering spell,” writes The Guardian.
Complex characters brought to life by exceptional cast
In a career-best performance, Andrew Scott disappears completely into the role of the haunted professor, his ever-shifting mercurial presence embodying a man struggling under the crushing weight of grief and regret.
“Scott burrows deep into this character’s layers of denial, half-truths and sheer panic,” notes Slate.
Breakout star Paul Mescal matches him beat for beat with a soulful portrayal of blue-collar melancholy and banked desire. Their charged chemistry electrifies the film.
An intimate chamber piece from an underrated auteur
While smaller in scale than his previous films like “Weekend” and “45 Years”, “All of Us Strangers” may be writer-director Andrew Haigh’s most ambitious work yet. Delving into magical realism in its final act, the film evolves into a ghost story about the lingering trauma of the AIDS crisis.
“Haigh joins a rarefied class of directors able to spin intimate tales of human behavior that speak to larger societal concerns,” raves The Los Angeles Times.
Early Oscar buzz building
With critics united in praise, “All of Us Strangers” is gaining momentum as a serious Oscar contender. In an interview with The Wrap, awards pundit Peter Knegt predicts nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Scott, and Best Original Screenplay.
The film’s delicate balance of naturalism and mysticism could appeal to Academy voters looking to honor something distinct from more mainstream fare. Haigh’s overdue recognition coupled with Scott and Mescal’s standout performances may finally give this understated drama the spotlight it deserves.
What critics are saying
“All of Us Strangers vaults Irish actor Paul Mescal into the upper echelon of rising talents. He and Scott share an easy chemistry that makes you root for them,” – Rolling Stone
“Andrew Scott’s shattering performance grounds this moody meditation on regret and connection. He makes you feel the full weight of his character’s anguish,” – The New York Times
“The rare kind of intimate drama that stays with you for days after. Haigh finds hope in the strangest places,” – IndieWire
With “All of Us Strangers” cementing itself as one of the best reviewed films of 2023, anticipation will grow for how it fares this awards season. Can Andrew Haigh’s overdue masterwork break through and earn nominations from key Oscar precursors like the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, and BAFTAs?
And will the film translate its critical success into commercial returns when it expands nationwide on January 13? Its unconventional ghost story love story plot make it tricky to predict how mainstream audiences will respond. But the dynamite central pairing of Mescal and Scott should entice moviegoers looking for quality adult fare over the holidays.
No matter what accolades it may win, one thing is clear: “All of Us Strangers” announces Haigh as one of our most talented working filmmakers and provides two gifted actors their richest roles yet. This haunting examination of grief’s lingering grasp will linger with viewers long after leaving the theater.
Table showing critics’ ratings from select reviews:
|The Los Angeles Times
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