A screening of Andrew Haigh‘s much-celebrated All Of Us Strangers just ended an hour ago, and I’m…well, I’m a dissenter to some extent.

I’m sorry but as rooted, refined, well-written and emotionally palatable as this film is, being about a present-tense gay relationship in London, it’s slow as molasses (as in largely or at least somewhat boring) and the often whispered and mumbled dialogue is hard to make out, and when you boil it all down Strangers is basically 135 minutes of beard stubble rendered in widescreen close-up.

And yet it’s primarily about three or four conversations with ghosts.

Story-wise it’s kind of a gay Midnight in Paris, except instead of hanging with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway the time traveller in question (a screenwriter named Adam, played by the mid-40ish Andrew Scott) spends a lot of time with his late parents, who are miraculously alive and their old glorious selves, and played by Jamie Bell and Claire Foy.

Their get-togethers allow Adam, of course, a chance to explain to them both (well, his mom) that he’s been gay (he doesn’t relate to queer) for decades but that being so inclined is no longer the socially uncertain, vaguely uncomfortable thing it was when mum and dad died in a car crash, back in the ’80s.

Strangers is certainly a classy, ultra-swoony, top-tier capturing of an intimate gay relationship. Then again I’m trying to imagine a hetero love affair portrayed or paced in this fashion (i.e., not much of a narrative, mostly about the past by way of dead-parent conversations) and I can’t.

Scott is a subdued, gentle-mannered, first-rate actor with classically handsome features and dark watery eyes (he once played Paul McCartney), and Harry, his lover, is played by the 27-year-old Paul Mescal, an HE non-favorite who wears a moustache and Van Dyke goatee in this thing and has generally horrible taste in clothing. Their performances are flawless; ditto the acting by Bell and Foy.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that watching Mescal and Scott get down with this and that intimate activity…beard-stubble eroticism with drooling kisses and leg rubbings and tender hair-stroking is…there’s no way to honestly react to the physical intimacy stuff without sounding like a conservative rube, and so, yes, I’m fully aware that I’m “not allowed” to say that such scenes are not my cup of tea.

Plus I’m used to gay sex scenes a la Brokeback Mountain or Call Me By Your Name…you know, the old-fashioned, straight-friendly kind.

But there’s no questioning the quality of it all. This is an honest, mature, sophisticated film about serious intimacy and the unpeeling of the usual layers.

Bottom line: If you’re going to make a film that vaguely borrows from Midnight in Paris, you should probably try to make it as diverting as that 2011 Woody Allen film.

I don’t care what the orientation of a pair of given lovers might be, but it’s generally not a good idea to make a boring love story… a love story in which nothing really happens between the here-and-now lovers (except for some fucking early on). All that happens is “gee, my dead parents are back in the old house and so I can talk to them about everything, and maybe introduce them to my boyfriend,” etc.

It goes without saying that All Of Us Strangers will play best in blue coastal cities, and that the kind of rapturous reception it’s gotten from major-outlet critics thus far reflects a certain form of self-protective political posturing (i.e., show approval or be branded a homophobe) that no one will admit to. But then most of us knew that going in.