A melancholy and dark film, A Ghost Story is an incredible and vastly unique experience that will leave viewers on edge. The unusual film is directed by David Lowery, the intriguing filmmaker behind such diverse films such as the controversial Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and the family friendly Disney picture Pete’s Dragon. He certainly knows his craft, and delivers a truly creepy, and eerie film that could influence future supernatural dramas.
M (Rooney Mara) is a widow who lives in a secluded house, where she desperately struggles to cope with her damaging depression. What M may not know at first is that her deceased husband C (Casey Affleck) has returned in as a ghost. Lacking pretense, C’s ghostly appearance has him dressed in a white sheet with eyeholes. He’s trying to find a way to reconnect with his grieving wife.
Lowery, who also writes the script, delves into the effect catastrophic events such as a family death can have on a person. On display are naked emotions candidly showing the audience what it may feel like after the loss of a close loved one.
Similar to Lowery’s previous film Saints, A Ghost Story has an extremely bleak and depressing mood to it. This bleakness gets the viewers set in the right tone to fully experience the drama. The result is a familiar, yet, sinister feel.
The screenplay for A Ghost Story is undoubtedly one of the most well written all year. What makes this film in particular so distinct against other films about a family member having to deal with a death in the family, is that it never goes the traditional course in which characters engage in lengthy exposition about the certain loss. Films that present it in this way often are strenuous to follow, as the other characters, and pointless subplots distract you from the real issue in the film; dealing with a loss in a family. A Ghost Story competently makes the purposeful decision to have minimal lines of dialogue, but when there is necessary moments of talking, Lowery makes certain to use the best possible words in said scene.
The dreadful tone of loss and tragedy is a very amazing aspect of the film, as it never became too much of a tiresome bore. Each and every scene is jam-packed with thoughtfulness and truly makes the audience think about what is currently transpiring on the screen, and is mixed beautifully with extraordinary cinematography. Something that bothered me in A Ghost Story, and an element that I strongly believe will disappoint moviegoers, is the third act. The first two acts were crammed with wonder and excitement, and was deeply disturbing, whereas the film’s third act, went off the rails a small amount.
Everything becomes tedious towards the finale, as it feels the exact same as the motion picture’s first two acts did. Not to mention that the eventual final moments of the film took away from compact moments that I adored earlier on. It truly is the ending that makes viewers questioned what they watched and ends up baffling everybody that has just viewed the film. But all that being said, A Ghost Story still stands on its own as a fresh, thought provoking film that leaves the viewer intrigued for the preponderance of the film.
Overall Grade: A
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brief language and a disturbing image
Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara
Directed by: David Lowery
Distributed by: A24
Running Time: 92 minutes