Andrew Haigh’s new queer romance, All of Us Strangers, debuted at Telluride Film Festival on Thursday (31 August) and was an immediate hit with the critics.
It follows Adam (Scott), a depressed screenwriter living in London, attempting to write a script inspired by his late parents. One night, his neighbour Harry (Mescal) returns home drunk and flirts with him. Their steamy encounter develops into a tender relationship.
On the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, All of Us Strangers has debuted with a perfect 100 per cent critics’ score, meaning all of the reviews about it so far have been positive. That score is subject to change as new reviews come in.
Following the premiere screening on Thursday, The New York Times’s Kyle Buchanan called it “shattering and sexy in equal measure”.
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw said it was “an enormously satisfying and affecting experience” while IndieWire’s David Ehrlich called it an “achingly tender, emotionally shattering ghost story”.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Haigh said that his Irish stars Scott and Mescal had instant chemistry with one another.
“There was chemistry between the two of them literally the second I saw them together,” he told the publication.
Speaking of the film’s sex scenes, the director said: “Both of them were pretty fearless. There was no sense of them being afraid of approaching those scenes. They knew how important they were”.
Haigh was previously behind the 2011 queer indie film Weekend. He also served as a director and executive producer on HBO’s gay drama-comedy series Looking.
“I’ve been more objective in how I’ve shot sex scenes in the past,” he said.
“Here, I really wanted to feel the subjective nature of having sex and what it feels like – the nervousness and the excitement and the physical sensation of being touched by someone else and what that does to you.”
Haigh also explained that he was intent on casting a gay actor, such as Scott, in the role of Adam. However, he also clarified that he does not believe only gay actors should play gay characters.
“I’m not one of those people who thinks you have to cast a queer actor in a queer role, but for this role, I did want to because I was trying to unpick some nuances of a certain generation of gay people,” Haigh said.
He said of Scott: “I needed someone that could understand that and have those conversations with me. I didn’t want it to feel like I was trying to explain what it was like.”
“Mercifully, these days people don’t see being gay as a character flaw. But nor is it a virtue, like kindness. Or a talent, like playing the banjo. It’s just a fact,” he said.
All of Us Strangers is scheduled for a theatrical release on 22 December in the US. The film is coming soon to the UK, although a release date is yet to be announced.