I don't even know how to start this. But I have this inexplicable need to write what I feel about this movie, even if I haven't figured it all out.
It's been almost a week since I've screened All of Us Strangers by Andrew Haigh at the 29th Athens International Film Festival - Opening Nights, and I am not going to pretend that I am not an emotional rag ever since. But I have the hardest time recalling another movie that made me so emotional while loving it so much. Usually, I don't prefer re-watching films that made me cry, or made me sad in any way. But this is a different kind. I haven't seen a movie like this, ever. As Adam (Andrew Scott) says in the movie "This is a new feeling".
I know many people haven't seen this film yet, and I have to admit it will be really hard to describe it without spoiling everything. So, I'll do my best to give you a glimpse of the film and the feelings.
All of Us Strangers is the fifth feature film by Andrew Haigh, and the first one I've seen from him. This is just a personal reminder to watch all the rest of them, anyway. All of Us Strangers revolves around the story of Adam (Andrew Scott), a very lonesome screenwriter who lives alone in a near-empty tower block in the contemporary London. One night, a knock on his door will introduce him to Harry (Paul Mescal) a mysterious man who will bring a pinch of laugh, lust and love to his life. While their relationship is evolving, Adam's memories of his long gone parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) are becoming a regular part of his everyday life, who appear to be living, just as they were on the day they died, 30 years ago.
Throughout his journey of self-discovery, Adam encounters his parents as both sides try to understand each other and heal wounds of the past with as few scars as possible. Simultaneously, Harry helps Adam open up about his feelings of his loneliness, his homosexuality and his parents.
Unfortunately, I have to surpass my need to tell you every little detail about this film, as I am not a fan of spoilers. Therefore, a whole part of my feelings will be held hidden. The truth is I can't even begin to imagine how much this movie would affect queer people with parents' issues. I know that loneliness can drive you to paths you weren't aware of. The feeling of being alone is one of the strongest fears of any human being and this film does anything possible to declare it, reject it, shout it out and finally deconstruct it completely.
Everything starts and ends with the power of love. The power of fear lies on our luck of love and affection that we as humans so desperately need from each other. It is not our fault. This is just how we are born. I didn't expect this film to teach me a lesson about the power of love. I didn't expect a movie to tell me how of an important role family plays in shaping our lives, our choices, our fears, our expectations, our feelings. But somehow it did. Except that this was not a lesson.
It was a dreamy placebo effect of our deep desire of human connection. A subtle slow burning memorium of all those things that we fear to do, and say, and eventually regret not doing and not saying. It was a deep need for the expression of gratitude for all those moments we defy in the universe's chaos. It was an honest version of the most dangerous form of denial of mourning, clinging to the past. It was a deeply moving film about the power of love in all its forms but also ours.
A part of me will be forever in this film. And it's soundtrack too. You'll know when you see the film.