A Ghost Story

"Very Good"

A Ghost Story Review


Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for an even more offbeat drama about the afterlife. A ghost story in which the lead character is a guy under a sheet feels like it should be funny, and yet this is a resolutely arthouse movie, inventive but pretentious and high-minded. Yes, the silly imagery makes us giggle, but Lowery strikes such a somber tone that we can't help but take it seriously.

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara reunite to play a couple whose happy life comes to an end when he is killed in a car crash. Now he wanders around their small house, watching his wife grieve, only able to communicate to another ghost who's haunting the house next door. After his wife packs up and moves on, this sheet-clad spirit sticks around, trying to communicate with a single mother (Sonia Acevedo), then a partying mob of ravers, including one guy (Will Oldham) who launches into a diatribe about the meaning of existence. But since he's dead, this ghost has only begun to experience his own journey through time and space.

Yes, as it goes along, the film spirals out into the kind of epic exploration of eternity that Terrence Malick keeps making (see The Tree of Life or To The Wonder). The central conceit of having Affleck performing under a white bedsheet is very clever, because it undercuts all preconceptions about ghost movies, offering a refreshingly earthbound approach that avoids swirly digital effects. But the fact is that, no matter how dark the film's tone is, it looks rather ridiculous. And Lowery only just barely gets away with walking this fine line between corny self-indulgence and meaningful drama.

Affleck and Mara are terrific in the opening scenes, conveying this couple's connection before they are pulled apart. This adds some emotional resonance to what follows, helping us experience the distance and closeness they feel after the husband dies. Acevedo is terrific in her sequence, which more closely resembles a horror movie. And Oldham offers some irony as one of those annoying over-talkers who actually strikes a nerve. But through all of this, Lowery's style continually reminds us that he's also haunting this film, shooting in extremely long takes in which very little seems to happen. And it culminates in a head-spinning final sequence that explores the nature of eternity itself. So while the movie feels rather gimmicky and slow, at least its fiendishly original touches get our minds churning.

Watch the trailer for A Ghost Story:



Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Production compaines: Sailor Bear, A24, Zero Trans Fat Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Adam Donaghey, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston

Starring: as C, as M, Will Oldham as Prognosticator, Sonia Acevedo as Maria, Rob Zabrecky as Pioneer Man, Liz Franke as Linda, Grover Coulson as Man in Wheelchair, Kenneisha Thompson as Doctor, McColm Sephas Jr. as Little Boy, Kesha Rose Sebert as Spirit Girl, Augustine Frizzell as Clara's Wife, as Clara, Yasmina Gutierrez as Yasmina, Barlow Jacobs as Gentleman Caller

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.