Latest Review – All My Friends Hate Me (LFF 2021) (65th BFI London Film Festival)

ALL MY FRIENDS HATE ME

Dir. Andrew Gaynord

LAUGH

Tom Stourton co-writes and stars in director Andrew Gaynord’s impressive feature debut, All My Friends Hate Me, an excruciatingly tense and darkly comic study of paranoia, social anxiety and hidden truths.

Stourton stars as Pete, a charity aid worker invited by his old university crew to a remote country mansion to celebrate his upcoming birthday. Pete was once the hub of the group and, by all accounts, the life and soul of every party, but after years working away, things have now changed and things don’t seem quite right.

When he first arrives there is nobody there to greet him. When the group eventually arrives home late in the evening a mysterious stranger from the local pub has latched onto the group. He observes Pete a little too closely and jots down items of interest in a strange notebook. Pete then seems to be the butt of all the jokes. The others have seemingly forgotten noteworthy parts of their heady university golden days. One by one, they all seem to be turning against him.

What unfolds is a frustrating and increasingly uncomfortable psychological mystery-thriller with jet black comedy thrown into the mix as misunderstandings, micro-aggressions and general paranoia start to take their toll on the birthday weekend.

Gaynord’s debut feature is a cleverly constructed and brilliantly staged piece of work featuring a razor-sharp script by Stourton and Tom Palmer, and driven by an excellent ensemble cast.

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