Film Review: A Ghost Story (2017)

Director: David Lowery

Writer: David Lowery

Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara

Synopsis: After dying in a car accident, a man returns to his home as a ghost, wrapped in a white sheet, and watches as his widow tries to move on with her life.

The story seems so simplistic – a man, killed in an accident, returns to his home and watches as his widow moves on with her life. And it really is simplistic, on the surface. However, there is something remarkable about this film that takes a simple concept and develops it into something deep, meaningful, spiritual and profound.

The film moves very slowly at times. There are long, lingering shots, where very little happens. There’s a scene, which has been talked about a great deal, that lasts several minutes, purely depicting Rooney Mara’s character (known only as M) eating a chocolate pie, as Casey Affleck (known as C) watches from the side of the room in his white sheet, unseen by his bereft wife. But by the end of that scene, I felt moved. I actually had tears running from my eyes. The longer the camera lingered, the more I got from the scene, the more I had a chance to meditate on the situations the characters found themselves in, the more I could feel what was going on with them.

Because of this long, lingering stillness that pervades the majority of the film, it certainly won’t be to everyone’s liking. But if you can cope with an incredibly slow pace, there’s a lot to be got from the film. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after watching it, and the final few seconds were powerful enough to stay in my memory. I look forward to watching it a second time and seeing if I get more from it – it feels like the sort of film that you can read differently, depending on your current state of mind.

A special shout out for the soundtrack by Daniel Hart – after the film I immediately bought the soundtrack on iTunes.

But the one thing I would say is: Casey Affleck – please can you stop mumbling once in awhile?!

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