All of Us Strangers snubbed

All of Us Strangers wasn’t snubbed at the BAFTAs, it wasn’t good enough to deserve any

Especially when the films winning awards over it were better

“Snubbed” is a word that by definition means to ignore, to rebuff or to spurn deliberately. I suppose within my interests in pop culture, it’s mostly used in awards season – AKA, now. When I choose to use the word snubbed, which I have this year in regards to the dirty done to films like May December in favour of pure shite like Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, I would usually use it bearing in mind that a nomination but not winning isn’t really a snub, but not being nominated all together probably is. Or, I’d use it if something great didn’t win but something worse than it did. There’s been a lot of throwing around of the word snubbed alongside All of Us Strangers – which saw no nominations at the Academy Awards but a fair few at the BAFTAs. The outrage I’ve seen from some over All of Us Strangers not getting any wins at Sunday’s 2024 BAFTAs blew my mind – mostly because the films that won over it were better, but also that because I really do not think All of Us Strangers was particularly good after all.

Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal star as Adam and Harry in Andrew Haigh’s story of a lonely screenwriter who sees visions of his dead parents whilst navigating a new, passionate relationship with his neighbour in the block of flats he lives in in London. I was really hyped to see All of Us Strangers. It got a lot of festival circuit acclaim when it premiered in the latter half of 2023. I am a huge fan of Paul Mescal (Aftersun is a perfect film and one of my all time favourites), and the supporting cast of Claire Foy and Jamie Bell as Adam’s parents. I am also a gay man, which I think is important to say just to reiterate that I am exactly the target audience of someone who would find the themes very moving and the explicitness of the sex scenes (which were known on social media for months before release) hot. Basically, this film should feel like it was made for me.

It didn’t take me that long before my excitement for All of Us Strangers started to falter a bit. I wasn’t loving Paul Mescal on screen, for starters – it’s probably my least favourite performance of his. A northern accent delivering some lines that were at best clunky, at worst cringe put me off at the start – but I was willing to be impressed. All of Us Strangers just never took it there for me.

Obviously this film was marketed as a gay romance, which it is – but in reality the Harry storyline is the subplot in favour of the one between Adam and his parents. Spoiler alert, naturally, but this storyline basically gives Adam the chance to talk to his deceased parents who passed away when he was 12 about his coming out and life as a gay man. The visions of his parents are preserved in the time they died – the 80s. They speak about gay issues of that time – naturally, AIDS and a general lack of acceptance of a queer lifestyle in contrast to today. The coming out chats are incredibly moving, as they always will be to literally any LGBTQ+ person who has had them with parents of their own. But I couldn’t help but think how unremarkable it was.

I cried, of course. At family stuff. How can you not, if you’ve been there? But I have seen this story done a billion times better – most notably recently with Russell T Davies’ It’s A Sin. Claire Foy’s role as Adam’s mum echoes Richie’s mum played by Keeley Hawes in It’s a Sin but it doesn’t have half the impact. It just felt like familiar boards being tread for me – hardly the stuff that would lend me to bellowing the word snubbed when it came around to awards season for All of Us Strangers.

The Harry romance is half baked. It’s essentially a series of casual shags and a club night – in which we’re meant to believe they’re deeply in love. It’s all a bit rom-com lightning speed love affair, which doesn’t work for me. If it worked for you, I’m happy – but to say All of Us Strangers was snubbed this year when the nominees (Maestro excluded) across the categories are so strong winds me up.

Just because we’re happy to have queer stories on the big screen with a great cast, and because the subject matter is moving and we cried, doesn’t mean these films are beyond criticism. When, in the case of All of Us Strangers – its clichéd script and clunky editing and some truly corny direction deserve a fair bit of critique.

All of Us Strangers is a decent film. I gave it three and a half stars. It is not the five star seminal masterpiece some’s outrage would lead you to believe. It received awards season nominations and a lot of people loved it. The winners in categories All of Us Strangers was up against include The Zone of Interest, The Holdovers and Oppenheimer. If you think that All of Us Strangers was ‘snubbed’, or more deserving than any of those three, I fear a rewatch is in order.


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