A Ghost Story

By: Nick Ferwerda

Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Academy Award winner Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) play M and C, a couple who lives in an old fashion country home that holds a lot of history.  After C is killed in a car accident nearby, M is left with the haunting image of her love and debates moving despite adoring the house.  C returns to the house as a ghost draped in a white sheet, and he struggles to watch M go through this loss.

Since C struggles to let go of the past, he is trapped in the space where the memory-filled house stands.  M moves on, leaving the history filled home, and C watches as new residents come and go.  Years pass, and he’s still unable to let go.  Confined to the space, C eagerly waits for his love to come home.

A Ghost Story is something completely different and new.  The decision to use an 1:33 aspect ratio makes the film feel like an old photograph, giving the film more engagement than one could ever imagine.  Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo (You’re Next) uses his unique sense of detail to evocatively create emotions, but the film also achieves greatness because of director David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints).  Lowery demonstrates an unconventional approach to storytelling (including minimal dialogue and lingering long shots) to grasp the beauty within his self-penned tale.  He certainly knows how to set himself apart from his fellow filmmakers.

Mara and Affleck give stand-out performances.  They’re especially impressive considering their patience during uncut scenes that require the actors to draw emotion from the audience using very little dialogue.  The real MVP, however, is Will Oldham.  Oldham, known for his work as a musician and composer, performs a well-written existential monologue that will leave you breathless.

A Ghost Story portrays grief very realistically, but the film is also a compelling, beautiful, and complex work about love and loss.


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Nick Ferwerda: @NickFerwerda

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