Being in the right mood to watch a certain type of movie is not that difficult of a process. But if you’re not in a good mood or if it’s raining, maybe watching A Ghost Story might be the perfect time to finally catch up on the film that I was pretty sure not everyone will be on the same page on.
C (Casey Affleck) and M (Rooney Mara) are a young married couple living in a small suburban house. After an unexpected accident laid upon C and M is left all alone, he comes back as a white-sheeted ghost and remains to stay in his home as time passes on.
For someone who knows A24 well enough now, I knew this wasn’t going to be a horror movie judging from the title. And this is the type of movie the studio would distribute. This is going to be a somber drama that was going to delve deep into our minds that change something forever. Even before watching, I personally didn’t think I wasn’t gonna like this because when the studio first released the trailer, I honestly hated it as it looked to be one of the most pretentious films of the year that the indie crowd will fall for. In context, this should’ve have worked, but in reality, it’s well-told even though it isn’t a great film from my perspective.
As this is writer-director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon)’s third film, this is the most ambitious and original film he’s directed in his career as it’s beautifully directed as he chose to shoot the film in an aspect ratio of 1:33:1 with the rounded edges showing it to be more thematic and it worked in its favor. And while I can say the direction is good, but other times it can get slightly boring. There are a lot of long, uninterrupted shots that drawn out without any cuts. For some reason, there was some part of me thinking there was going to be a jump scare. But the scene that everyone will be talking about when they watch it is a quiet six-minute scene of Mara eating a pie. Maybe it’s a way to show that she’s grieving, but it felt awkward just watching.
The story itself is profound seeing from the ghost perspective. What makes this different from any other movie involving ghost is that it doesn’t tend to be meant in scary.
The performances from Affleck and Mara (working together again after Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) are very good even though they don’t have many scenes together. There really was a sense of connection between the two characters. Coming off from his Oscar win for Manchester By the Sea, who would’ve thought of Affleck being in a role that has him under a sheet that’s made out to be the most laziest Halloween costume created?
When there’s anything emotional happening, it didn’t necessarily hit me that hard to make to think it’s the saddest movie I’ve seen this year, but you can clearly see how it deals with the aspects time, life, and death in a powerful way. But calling this one of the saddest movies ever is a bit of a stretch.
The music by Daniel Hart is absolutely ominous and the cinematography combined with the visual style is outstanding.
A Ghost Story will end of as being one of those films that will communicate well to the arthouse audience it’s attended to, but for those who were wanting more from a story that actually sounds very intriguing might be disappointed. For me, I can’t deny the fact that Lowery’s direction is mesmerizing and the performances standout, but the themes that this was gaining for didn’t connect to me like it should’ve.
While it felt long and is something that everyone won’t enjoy, A Ghost Story is a haunting melancholic drama exploring layers of loss.