All Of Us Strangers Ending Explained: Why It’s A Movie Of Hope

Film News

When I originally saw All of Us Strangers at the 59th Chicago International Film Festival, I left the theater in awe of the movie and performances. I was also stunned by the ending. I immediately knew I wanted to dig deeper into it. It’s an ending that shocks you, but also leaves so much to unpack.

This film had a big impact on me in 2023 because of some of its themes, including love, loss, and loneliness. It’s one of the best movies that discuss grief. It tackles the subject in a way that feels more grounded in reality than some films, and shows it as something ever-present that never truly goes away. The All of Us Strangers ending explores that and more.  

Warning: All of Us Strangers spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution. 

Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal in All of Us Strangers

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

What Happened At The End Of All Of Us Strangers? 

Adam (Andrew Scott) brings Harry (Paul Mescal) to his parents’ home to meet them. They refuse to let them in and, and in a panic, Adam freaks out and breaks a window. Harry leaves him. Adam wakes up back in his childhood home with his parents. They discuss Harry and Adam’s relationship. Then his parents tell him that they must leave. They notice how this situation is not good for him.

Adam pleads with them but they must move on so he can as well. The child and parents go on one last outing to his favorite diner. His parents say their goodbyes before slowly fading away. His dad fades first and then his mother, after losing her eyesight — similar to their deaths.

He arrives back at his flat but ends up at Harry’s apartment and notices a really bad smell. The TV is on and the place looks like it hasn’t been touched in a while. Eventually, he finds Harry’s dead body in his bedroom. Harry’s ghost appears. He breaks down about his death and the fact that no one has discovered his body yet. 

Adam comforts him and asks him to go upstairs with him. They lie in Adam’s bed together, talk some, and then drift to sleep. “Power of Love” plays in the background.

Paul Mescal in All of Us Strangers

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

What Happened To Harry? 

The All of Us Strangers ending makes it clear that Harry died before they began their relationship. After Adam closed the door on Harry, he went to his apartment, drank himself to death, and possibly overdosed on drugs. It’s unclear if Harry intentionally died by suicide or was so depressed that he continued to engage in destructive behavior, like drinking and drugs, until it accidentally killed him.

It doesn’t really matter if he died by suicide or accidentally. The point is that he was so lonely and scared that he engaged in behavior that ended his life. All of Harry and Adam’s relationship happens after he dies. The conversation between Adam and Harry at the end heavily implies that Harry is also about to fade away. Like Adam’s parents, he is also about to move on. 

This is another movie that thoughtfully talks about depression. Harry’s “sad eyes” are because of his own life tragedies. He doesn’t have his family because of his feeling of being an outsider in it. Then he has no friends and only starts a solid relationship with Adam after his death. Harry, in some ways, is also a cautionary tale to Adam. Don’t close yourself off so much that you are alone in the end.  

Andrew Scott in All of Us Strangers

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

The Hope In The Tragic Ending 

It’s easy to interpret the All Of Us Strangers ending as sad and tragic. However, it’s more bittersweet if anything. Adam is likely about to be alone again, but his relationship with his parents and Harry allows him to do some emotional healing. His parents have given him some closure. Adam will never stop grieving them (as his mother states, there will never be enough time with them), but now they’ve at least gotten to know him. They accept and love him. Adam resolves one of the major things holding him back from love. 

Harry is dead, so Adam experiences another loss, but he also experiences more love. Harry opened his heart to romantic love again. Even at the end, Harry tells him to not close his heart to love, and Adam seems to accept that message. We see a different Adam from the start of All of Us Strangers to the end of it. He won’t continue to isolate himself from the world. 

He will go find love again. Additionally, Adam and Harry’s love story answers the age-old question: Is it better to have loved and lost or to never have loved at all? The film argues it’s better to have loved and lost. Just because there is no happy ending for Adam and his parents, or Adam and Harry, doesn’t make these relationships and love any less important. The pure existence of them makes it all worth having, even if they end. 

Adam also realizes that if he let Harry in at the beginning of the film, Harry would have had a different fate. This makes him see the importance of not pushing someone away. They may need you. All of Us Strangers director Andrew Haigh expands on this idea in a Time interview: 

There is hope in the fact that he has understood that, basically, he is capable of being in love and being loved and being there for someone else that might need him in that moment.

Adam (probably) doesn’t regret not opening the door for Harry at that moment, because they still have a love story. Just because it happens after Harry’s death doesn’t negate the impact and power of it. Let’s look at it this way: Some people discover their favorite artist after that artist’s death. Their death doesn’t diminish the impact and power of their work and life. Sometimes it makes it even more meaningful. Death doesn’t make love any less meaningful.

Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal in All of Us Strangers

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

The Importance Of The Power Of Love 

“The Power of Love” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood plays a few times in the film. It’s one of those perfect movie music moments. The song basically sums up why the All of Us Strangers ending is hopeful even in its sadness. It talks about how love has a way of healing the soul. The film is also about the ways love heals if you open yourself up to it, even after deep loss. 

In the same Time interview, Haigh explained his use of the song and its importance to the LGBTQ+ experience of the ‘80s and his youth: 

It’s actually quite a subversive love song because it’s written by a bunch of gay dudes in the ’80s in a really tough time as AIDS was devastating communities. I always knew I wanted to get it into a film, and it made perfect sense for it being at the end of this.

One part of “The Power of Love” says “death-defying love for you,” which could basically summarize one of All of Us Strangers’ messages: Even in death, love cannot be destroyed. The song also mentions “make love your goal.” No matter how life may hurt you, don’t ever stop loving. 

On the surface, the story may seem tragic but it’s really a beautiful way of looking at love and loss. The pain of losing someone crushes your soul, but the love you get from it and after it, makes the whole journey worth it. Death cannot destroy love.

All of Us Strangers is one of the best movies of 2023 and one of the best LGBTQ+ romance movies ever. It’s a film that stays with you in both a hopeful and heartbreaking manner. 

Stream All of Us Strangers on Hulu.

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