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All of Us Strangers is a different kind of Ghost Story


Filmmaker Andrew Haigh follows up on his well-received 2017 feature with the romantic fantasy drama All of Us Strangers from Searchlight Pictures. The director also pens the screenplay for the film, which is an adaption of Taichi Haigh's 1987 novel Strangers


One night in his near-empty tower block in contemporary London, screenwriter Adam (Andrew Scott) has a chance encounter with a mysterious neighbor, Harry (Paul Mescal), which punctures the rhythm of his everyday life. As a relationship develops between them, Adam is preoccupied with memories of the past and finds himself drawn back to the suburban town where he grew up and the childhood home where his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) appear to be living just as they were on the day they died, 30 years before.


The source material for All of Us Strangers follows a middle-aged scriptwriter who moves into an old apartment after his marriage falls apart. As the writer settles into his new home, he encounters a mysterious and alluring woman who claims to be the previous tenant. The original novel blends a psychological thriller and a ghost story, blurring the lines between reality and the supernatural.


Haigh has altered his adaptation, emphasizing dealing with grief instead of the macabre. However, his writing style is atmospheric and haunting, creating a feeling of trustworthiness for the viewer throughout the narrative. Just imagine having an opportunity to spend more time with someone you love, and they appear just as they did in the prime of their life.


I wasn't too familiar with the work of Andrew Scott; thus, having an unknown as our lead allowed me to tap into the director's exploration of loneliness, regret, and the passage of time, which is central to the film. Haigh skillfully weaves these themes into the story, adding depth and emotional resonance to the plot while directing Scott as our lead. The character development in "All of Us Strangers "is particularly noteworthy. Adam is a complex and relatable protagonist, and his interactions with his "parents" challenge his perceptions of reality and his own identity. 


The supporting characters, including Harry (another solid performance by rising star Mescal), also add layers to the narrative and contribute to the film's exploration of human relationships and the impact of the past on the present. There is also a decent twist in the movie that I didn't see coming, but upon further discussion with fellow film critics, the ending made perfect sense.


All of Us Strangers is a thought-provoking and atmospheric novel that delves into the complexities of human experience and the blurred boundaries between our current lives and the past we cannot let go of.


Final Grade: B

All of Us Strangers opens in limited theaters tomorrow.

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