David at the movies: “I see dead people.”

All of Us Strangers

 

This must be the most intense gay movie since Brokeback Mountain, but All of Us Strangers is a lot more mystifying  than Brokeback. Adam (Andrew Scott), a lonely screenwriter in a bleak London high-rise, starts dating Harry (Paul Mescal) after meeting him in the lobby of the building. Via a kind of London Transport time tunnel, Adam takes regular trips to his old home in the suburbs, where his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) are living again thirty years after they died in a car crash. Mum and Dad are nearly the same age as Adam; they don’t know he is gay or that the world has moved on since the fear-filled early days of AIDS. Adam builds a stronger bond with his parents at the same time as his affair with Harry deepens.

Given that a tube train can take him to see dead people, we have to decide how much of this story is real and how much a fantasy scripted by the unhappy Adam, who was orphaned at twelve and has limited interpersonal skills. The ending adds another layer to the mystery.

The love scenes are beautifully (and tastefully) shot, but the weirdness of the story will probably baffle and even alienate a lot of viewers. I’m not sure how I rate this: great performances from the charismatic lead actors, but I didn’t feel as emotionally engaged as I was in Brokeback or God’s Own Country.

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