If you could talk to a deceased relative again, what would you say to them? And what would you want them to say to you? That’s the central conceit behind All of Us Strangers, Andrew Haigh’s excellent 2023 movie that has won over critics and arthouse audiences nationwide.
A powerful meditation on memory, loneliness, and love, the movie may inspire you to track down more films like it. Sometimes, movies are so singular and unique that they are a class unto themselves. Fortunately, fans of All of Us Strangers will discover some striking similarities to other films like the ones in this list and be rewarded with great movies they won’t soon forget.
If it’s a tad obvious to include Weekend on this list, it’s also necessary, as it’s director Andrew Haigh’s first feature film and carries many of the same themes that All of Us Strangers possesses. The movie takes place over one weekend (surprise!) and chronicles the quick hookup-turned-love affair between two twentysomething British men in Nottingham: Russell, a lifeguard who never knew his birth parents, and Glen, an artist who documents his sexual encounters for an upcoming art project.
The movie, which is both lyrical in its presentation and realistic in its approach, is concerned with how two gay men get to know each other and how they react when they discover each other’s secrets, dreams, fears, and regrets. Like Haigh’s later work, the movie is also interested in how these two gay men, particularly Russell, relate to their parents. In one scene, Glen pretends to be Russell’s dad so that he can come out to him, which is something Haigh expands on to a similar effect in All of Us Strangers.
Weekend is streaming for free on Tubi.
A criminally underrated thriller on Netflix, I Am Jonas deserves to be watched and re-assessed as one of the best international movies of the last five years. When we first meet thirtysomething Jonas, his life is in disarray. After getting into a fight at a gay bar, he returns home only to be thrown out by his boyfriend. Aimless and with an appetite for self-destruction, he begins to stalk a seemingly random young man, Léonard. Quickly, it’s revealed that the young man shares a link to his past, one that is defined by an event that happened when Jonas was 15 years old.
Like All of Us Strangers, I Am Jonas deals with the burden of memory and the weight of a long-ago tragedy. The film intercuts adult Jonas pursuing Léonard with teenaged Jonas’ budding friendship and infatuation with fellow student Nathan, who also shares a connection to Léonard. Only 82 minutes long, Christoph Charrier’s I Am Jonas packs a visceral and emotional gut punch by the end when Jonas, at last, reconciles his past trauma with the present. The last shot is unforgettable and serves as a fitting coda to a movie that is both cathartic and haunting.
I Am Jonas is streaming on Netflix.
At first glance, The Eternal Daughter, one of Digital Trends’ 10 best movies of 2022, doesn’t appear to have anything in common with All of Us Strangers or any of the other movies on this list. Instead of focusing on a pair of gay male characters, Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter is concerned with two female ones: Julie Hart, a filmmaker struggling to create her next work, and her elderly mother, Rosalind. They both decide to stay at a secluded hotel in the countryside for a few days, and it’s there where Julie begins to encounter strange and unsettling things that begin to test her perception of reality.
Ostensibly a gothic supernatural horror movie, The Eternal Daughter effectively uses its genre trappings to explore the complex relationship between mother and daughter and how Julie uses her skills as a filmmaker to confront her past. Like Andrew Scott’s screenwriter character in All of Us Strangers, Julie utilizes creating a fictional narrative to demystify her mother and find some truth about the woman and herself in the process. If this sounds like heady stuff, don’t worry; The Eternal Daughter has enough creaking stairs and foggy English landscapes to satisfy die-hard genre fans as well as admirers of Tilda Swinton, who once again knocks it out of the park in portraying both Julie and Rosalind.
The Eternal Daughter can be rented or purchased at Amazon Prime Video and other digital vendors.
- Stop! And watch these 3 great movies leaving Netflix by March 1
- 3 Hulu movies you need to stream this weekend (Feb. 23-25)
- 3 underrated Netflix movies you should watch this weekend (Feb. 23-25)
- This 2023 movie should’ve been nominated for Best Picture. Here’s why you should watch it now
- 3 under-the-radar movies you need to watch in March 2024