A Ghost Story was not what I expected. Casey Affleck dressed in a white sheet like it’s a little kid’s Halloween costume? Unusual. I watched it with my husband anyway, and it’s the kind of story that I appreciated more when it came to a conclusion than I did while I was watching it. The film is rated R for brief language and a disturbing image.
C (Casey Affleck) and his wife M (Rooney Mara) are getting ready to move when his life is abruptly and unfairly cut short. He becomes a ghost and returns to the home they shared together. I can’t give the story line away in case you decide to watch it, but I will say that the writer and director, David Lowery, took some risks as a storyteller with his extreme uses of SILENCE, and very long scenes of not much happening at all. The reasons for the silence and stillness become clearer as the story goes along.
I asked my husband to be a guest reviewer, as he really liked the film, and had a different take on it than I did. Here is his review:
My wife, who writes movie reviews, and I (an artist) watched this movie together. My wife thought it was "weird" and she seemed disturbed by it enough to say she probably won't write a review. It must have hit a sensitive spot, one that is otherwise impervious to blood and guts and depraved acts that appear regularly on the silver screen. For my part, the longer I watched the film, the more intrigued and captivated I became — probably because I'm lost in some existential limbo land myself. There are a number of impressions the film left me with, but a couple of things I would like to mention, which I haven't read in any of the reviews are these: A Ghost Story might be too slow for today's short attention span audiences. Too bad. Second, I think the use of the sheet for the ghost was perfect and worked in a way that any other depiction of a ghost would not have. It hid all facial expressions of the ghost that might otherwise have cued the audience for a specific response. What’s more, the living can't know what the dead are feeling. Therefore, the sheet served as a blank surface for the viewer to supply his or her own emotional response. The sheet also represented a literal and figurative veil or barrier between the world of the living and the dead.
What the film is ultimately about, is time. Is time really a linear concept like we in the western world like to schedule our lives around ? Or is it a circle like native cultures profess? Is all of existence occurring simultaneously? Do ghosts really exist, and why do they hang around on earth when they could head into the light?
All of this and more is what A Ghost Story asks.