A Ghost Story, 2017.
Directed by David Lowery.
Starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.
In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.
On paper A Ghost Story shouldn’t work. A slow paced examination of grief and time showed through the eyes of a ghost covered in a traditional Halloween sheet outfit with two eye holes. There’s an excruciatingly long scene of Rooney Mara’s character eating a pie and the narrative is challenging and unusual. Yet somehow A Ghost Story is a success and simultaneously heart breaking, creepy and in some ways romantic.
After her husband C (Affleck) dies in a car accident, M (Mara) is constantly watched by his presence and he is tied to the single storey house that they occupied. As time moves at lightning speed and then slows down to enjoy the subtle moments, we see the ghost’s perspective of time and also the pain of watching the one you love moving on with their lives. The exact amount of time that passes is deliberately vague and this is a testament to the film that you’re not left wondering about the specifics of what’s going on. The message is clear and the sense of loss and the examination of time is breath taking.
As C, Affleck is simply astonishing. The idea that someone covered in a big white sheet could deliver a performance that is both engaging, believable, sad and still unnerving is a testament to both actor and director. There are numerous hanging shots throughout the film that do more than any words could. A Ghost Story at times feels like a perfectly executed silent movie with a haunting score by Daniel Hart. I Get Overwhelmed by Dark Rooms features prominently throughout the film and tones of it filter throughout the score to great effect.
A Ghost Story is unlike any film I’ve ever seen. Initially I found the pacing to be excruciatingly slow but as the film progressed I became absorbed in these complex ideas that are represented in a simple yet effective way.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★