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The Stranger in Us
IMDB Rating: 5.8/10 from 308 votes
Release: 23 June 2010 (USA) /

The Stranger in Us

Genre: Drama
Director: Scott Boswell,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: In this verité-style drama, Anthony, a newcomer to San Francisco, attempts to come to terms with his abusive ex-lover when he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a street hustler.

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Critic Reviews


"The Stranger in Us"

Intriguing and Beautiful

Amos Lassen

"The Stranger in Us" is the story of a young aspiring poet named Anthony who follows Stephen. His lover and a successful therapist–across the country to San Francisco and they begin to build a life together. Everything fine until Stephen becomes very angry. From here to say anything else about the plot would give just too much away but Anthony has a hard time handling Stephen's anger and seeks an escape and finds himself in a very strange place. The story is not told chronologically—it is presented to us out of sequence and the movie moves back and forth as Anthony thinks about the past and what has led him to this point. At the start of the film, things seem totally confusing and in fact there is even repetition of certain scenes as we enter the Anthony's mind. I would have to classify this as a psychological drama and as we begin to understand what is happening, it is akin to being emotionally slapped across the face. The film is a raw look at urban life and we often feel like voyeurs, spying on the actors as they deliver incredibly realistic performances. It is a film that you will not soon forget. It will grab you and hold you and you will find that it is very difficult to let go. We come face to face with the beauty and the horror of the city at night as San Francisco, the setting for the film also becomes a character in it. Anthony is a small-town boy from Virginia who came to the city to be with his lover, Stephen (Scott Cox) who suddenly becomes abusive. Anthony out of desperation for companionship becomes friendly with Gavin (Adam Perez) a barely legal runaway and homeless street hustler, who has his own rough past. Anthony is a poet and he uses his poetry to try to understand where his life has taken him and to make some sense of it. He looks to the street for compassion and understanding. Anthony arrived in San Francisco wide-eyed and eager to build a life there but everything fell apart when Stephen began his angry outbursts. He had not known Stephen well yet he was dazzled enough by him to leave home and follow him. Anthony spends his days working in the concession area of a local movie theater and at night he wanders the city's streets, finding momentary solace in the beds of strangers listening to the love and torch songs and of a chanteuse (singer Veronica Klaus, in a lovely cameo). Gavin, a young runaway and hustler and Anthony become "friends" and Gavin becomes Anthony's guide, helper and watchman. However Gavin enjoys con games and scams too much and the novelty wears off for him. They both long for some kind of stability and they are devoted to each other which seems a contradiction to the previous sentence. Scott Boswell directed this gem of a film and he gives us the theme of the pleasure and the pain of losing oneself in the city and then regaining oneself nevertheless. This is a difficult film for those who have had similar experiences and Boswell has captured reality in all of its forms.Each of the characters face a tough time and for two of them it just seems to keep getting tougher until they find each other. The screenplay is amazing and allows the actors to give their all which they beautifully do—there is not a weak performance here. Raphael Barker's "Anthony" is perfection; he is the epitome of the boy/hustler/poet type. He is a complex character who thinks a lot—he is both sympathetic and reproachful, and he is tender and filled with passion (like a true poet).Adam Perez's "Gavin" is strong and physically beautiful. He is Anthony's fallen angel and when the two are together, it is electric. Scott Cox gives "Stephen" is interesting. He is the older man who has the resources to keep the good looking young poet and he is a manipulator. The film is a work of art. It challenges and it is hard and raw but it is about life and that is exactly what life is. It is one of the best so far this year and for a directorial debut, Scott Boswell has every reason to be very proud.

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