Since getting one of these cards that allows you to go as many times to the cinema as you like, I have found myself seeing many movies that I would not ordinarily have watched; A Ghost Story is the perfect example of that. Definitely not the sort of film I would ever chose to see at the cinema but one that I am glad I did. I knew nothing about the film going in and was pleasantly surprised by how sweet it was.
A couple of clarifying points: I believed this film was a horror based on the posters I had seen for it but it is a drama and there are no horror elements to it at all. Also, this film is not for everyone. It is a little “artsy” and takes its time to tell the story but, if you can get into it, the plot is lovely and touching. I won’t spoil you anymore than that because this is an experience to have with no prior knowledge to enjoy it best. I shall not even link you a trailer this time so you don’t get a chance to see one!
Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara are the two leads but their performances are not really a factor. This is due to the plot which I can’t spoil but the real stars behind this film are the screenwriter, editor and director, David Lowery, and the cinematographer, Andrew Droz Palermo. The script is very well done and some of the editing choices were sublime. Shots merge seemless together in several key scenes which is vital in this film to show an important transition of time which factors into the plot. Furthermore, there are some long and quite haunting shot choices. A couple I felt were unnecessary but others really help portray the theme of grief very well. Legacy is another factor at play here, and what we chose to leave behind us- there is a particularly powerful speech towards the end which I found a noteworthy part of the film.
A little further towards the end, there is a plot decision which, once it happened, I understood where the film was going. I thought it was a lovely choice, however, because I, and a lot of the audience, would probably have all realised the same thing at the same time, I feel that they could have sped up the conclusion so it didn’t feel like it lingered for as long. Those few pacing issues are really the only standout issues, which did put some people off, as did the avant-garde nature of the film. I saw at least a dozen people walk out, which is not a measure of the quality of the film, just of its divisive nature.
This is another short review because I don’t want to give away the plot details too much. I think it is better to go in completely fresh, without any real idea of what you are watching (except it isn’t a horror- my bad!) Certainly not a film everyone can enjoy but one I found sweet and powerful. Get watching.