All of Us Strangers reviews praise Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott’s ‘devastatingly good’ gay film

Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott in the trailer for Andrew Haigh's gay romance film All of Us Strangers

The first reviews of Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal’s romantic fantasy All of Us Strangers are in, and it looks set to become one of the most popular queer films in recent memory.

All of Us Strangers follows Fleabag’s Scott as Adam, a mildly depressed screenwriter in his mid-forties. He seems to keep running into his mysterious neighbour Harry, played by Aftersun’s Paul Mescal, in the London tower block where they both live.

As their relationship blossoms, Adam is drawn back to his home in a suburban area of Croydon, where he encounters his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) as ghosts, looking exactly the same as they did when they died, 30 years before.

Through his paranormal encounters, Adam manages to come out to his mother and father, and begins to immerse himself in his romance with Harry. He’s also able to ask his deceased parents the questions he never got an answer to when they were alive.

The film is written and directed by Andrew Haigh, the man behind the critically acclaimed 2011 queer film Weekend and HBO’s Looking, and is loosely based on Taichi Yamada’s 1987 Japanese novel Strangers.

All of Us Strangers had its premiere at the 50th Telluride Film Festival, in Colorado, last month, where it received rave reviews. Now, ahead of the film showing at the BFI London Film Festival in October, critics’ full reviews have been published – and there’s a lot of Oscars buzz.

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According to The Daily Beast’s entertainment critic Coleman Spilde, Scott steals the show, giving a “devastatingly good” performance that is “some of the finest work of any actor this year”.

Spilde also praises the “crackling chemistry” between Scott and Normal People star Mescal, stating that their love affair is “warm and affectionate”, with sex scenes that are second only to Ira Sachs’ Passages – which is saying something, considering that film champions queer intimacy like no other queer film in recent years.

Paul Mescal (L) and Andrew Scott (R) make the perfect pair in All of Us Strangers.
Paul Mescal (L) and Andrew Scott make the perfect couple in All of Us Strangers. (Searchlight Picture/Chris Harris/20th Century Studios)

While Scott and Mescal have previously been said to “explore each other’s bodies”, this isn’t just a 90-minute sex flick. According to Spilde, viewers can expect to cry “every 15 minutes”.

Writing for Screen Daily, Wendy Ide declared All of Us Strangers a “luxuriantly sad and skin-tinglingly sensual gay romance” sound-tracked by 80s queer pop bops, and agreed that the performances are “devastating”.

Meanwhile, The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave it a five-star review, commending all four of the film’s lead stars for their “tremendous performances [in the] beautiful, affecting” film.

Slant magazine’s Marshall Shaffer promised scenes that “pack real emotional wallops” and praised Mescal’s “extraordinary capacity for empathetic, reactive listening”, with the first sex scene being the film’s most “sensational” moment.

However, in what appears to be one of very few criticisms of the film, Shaffer stated that the coming out conversations between Adam and his undead parents were “disappointingly simple”, feeling like a “greatest hits album of the coming out canon”.

The first trailer for All of Us Strangers dropped last week, and featured Adam and Harry falling for each other as the Pet Shop Boys’ 1987 hit “Always On My Mind” plays in the background.

Paul Mescal (L) and Andrew Scott (R) in All of Us Strangers.
Paul Mescal (L) and Andrew Scott both earned praise from the critics. (Searchlight Picture/Chris Harris/20th Century Studios)

The trailer set social media ablaze, leading to an endless stream of fans demanding that the cast receive Oscar nominations.

Last month, Haigh said: “There was chemistry between the two of them literally the second I saw them together. Both of them were pretty fearless [in approaching the sex scenes]. They knew how important they were.”

All of Us Strangers is due to open in the UK on 26 January