Film Review – A Ghost Story (2017)

Title – A Ghost Story (2017)

Director – David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon)

Cast – Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara

Plot – After passing away in a car accident, C (Affleck) returns as a ghostly presence and spends his days being around his grieving wife M (Mara) who is still coming to grips with C’s death.

“You do what you can to make sure you’re still around after you’re gone”

Review by Eddie on 23/04/2018

That A Ghost Story work’s at all is a huge feat by itself.

A film in which its lead male star spends 90% of the films runtime under a white sheet, silently wandering his old home as he watches his grieving wife live her life without him, doesn’t exactly seem like the type of film that would offer a raw and often affecting examination of life, death and the journey we all take but David Lowery’s low-budget affair is one of 2017’s most curious films, even if its effect on viewers will differ wildly depending on their connection to this far from generic tale.

After impressing with the one-two double hit of the well-received indie Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and the fantastic Disney remake Pete’s Dragon, Lowery enlisted the help of his Bodies stars Mara and Affleck for this film that was shot in secret with little fanfare but A Ghost Story feels like a well-polished and thoughtful affair that clearly holds a personal resonance with the up and coming filmmaker.

We never get much background on Mara or Affleck, a couple who have clearly been through their ups and downs but we still feel the heartbreak and hurt Mara suffers after Affleck is killed off early in the film, only to return as an unseen (yet sometimes felt) ghostly presence in a blanket.

The early stages of A Ghost Story are almost devoid of dialogue as Affleck watches on, time operating on a different level as Mara slowly but surely begins to move on from her broken heart. Lowery in no rush to get anywhere fast (a scene of Mara eating a pie is one of last years longest scenes, but for good reason and intent) but filmed beautifully by DOP Andrew Droz Palermo and scored thoughtfully by composer Daniel Hart, you won’t mind that A Ghost Story takes its time to transpire.

While the set-up of the film is strong and captivating in an ethereal type way, A Ghost Story does struggle as its journey begins to become something else entirely. Around the mid-way point Mara mostly exits the picture, as we instead focus solely on Affleck’s bedsheet clad ghost and the film takes turns into unexpected areas that don’t always work.

It’s an ambitious move by Lowery and some will love it but for anyone that disapproved of narrative detours like the beginning of Earth segments of The Tree of Life would do well to avoid Lowery’s slow moving affair all together.

Final Say –

Lowery continues to be a filmmaker of considerable skill, anchored by another hugely impressive Rooney Mara turn and a different type of Casey Affleck performance, A Ghost Story is a quietly powerful and unique experience that should be sought out by anyone seeking something out of the ordinary, even if some of the places Lowery takes us to don’t always resonate.

3 ½ emotional eating scenes out of 5  

2 responses to “Film Review – A Ghost Story (2017)

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