Director: Andrew Haigh

Performers: Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Claire Foy, Jamie Bell

Year: 2023

Premiere: February 23, 2024


Throughout his career, Andrew Haigh has shown special interest in portray characters who are not comfortable with their sexual identity nor in tune with the ‘queer’ culture of which they are part, and incapable of closing wounds from the past. For the first time, of course, here he does it through something similar to a ghost story, in which the naturalism of his previous work appears mutated into metaphysical melodrama.

Its protagonist is a screenwriter who, after an encounter with an enigmatic neighbor that leads to a relationship, returns to his childhood home, where his parents seem to be the same age they were on the day of his death 30 years before, and there he begins a healing work through conversations that I had never had with them. And these sociologically and psychologically precise dialogues also address issues such as cultural attitude changes regarding homosexual men and AIDS.

In the process, Haigh initially allows ‘Unknowns’ to transit the terrain of the poetic and the mysterious, but, in an increasingly literal and obviously sentimental way, it conforms that claustrophobic world to the contours of its protagonist’s trauma. For this reason, and despite the fact that in the meantime it offers devastating scenesthe film dilutes its emotional impact as it heads towards a predictable catharsis and a resolution that is better forgotten, wrapped at all times in a certain therapeutic air.