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‘All Of Us Strangers’

I went to see this film starring Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Claire Foy and Jamie Bell as the latest outing in my cinema project. It was directed by Andrew Haigh. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from it, but found myself blown away.

At heart, this is a carefully crafted film about the nature of our relationship with our parents. Foy and Bell play the parents of the protagonist, Scott, who were killed when he was twelve years old. In the course of the film, Scott is able to travel to see his parents and talk to them again, frozen at the age they were when they died. Because we don’t really know how this is happening, it is unclear whether Scott is interacting with his parents as they really were, or whether he is seeing his own perception of them—plus his hopes and fears of their judgements of his later life—reflected back at him.

This sounds like a terribly complicated plot, but it isn’t really: it is brushed over, and the focus is almost entirely on the emotions of the relationships. In that sense, the film reminded me a lot of opera. We’re left not worrying about how the characters reached any given point in the plot, but left just to contemplate the emotions of the moments.

And there is a real emotional heft in this film: I felt a bit like I’d been hit by a truck when it ended, and I’ve never heard so many people weeping in a cinema auditorium. Never before have I sat in a screen where no-one—absolutely no-one—moved a muscle when the credits appeared; there was just stunned silence until the house lights came back up.

All of the acting was brilliant in this film, coupled with some brilliant cinematography and a desperately evocative soundtrack. There is nothing I’d change. It was a perfect package and an absolutely remarkable film. I’d highly recommend it.

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