A Ghost Story Review
A Ghost Story is a supernatural drama film written and directed by David Lowery. It stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, with supporting performances from Will Oldham, Sonia Acevedo, Rob Zabrecky, and Liz Franke.
The Story/The Direction:
After a fatal car crash, a struggling musician, C (Affleck), awakens to find he is a ghost. The film then follows him who is remains in the home that he and his wife, M (Mara), lived in together. The audience sees his past, present, and future and watches him try to find the thing he is waiting for. To give much more on the plot would definitely fall into spoiler territory. In short, however, the story is a mix of romance, sci-phi, and philosophical drama. Director, Lowery, has created an original story that is absolutely fascinating. While dealing with questions such as "how long will we be remembered," and "does our time on this planet even matter when eventually the planet will be killed either by human nature or by our sun's eventual supernova," he is able to keep the story fairly grounded through his direction.
What makes this film even more interesting is Lowery's choice to keep C under a sheet almost the entire film which keeps him quiet almost the entire film. Since he's the main character, this makes the entire film almost similar to that of a silent movie. This allows for a lot of the storytelling to be told through visuals. He attempts to make this story a simple one that will affect the audience in different ways depending on the viewer. He shot this film in 1:33 aspect ratio which adds this nostalgic feeling that makes the film look similar to a home movie that someone popped in their VCR. The cinematography is fantastic in this film and some shots are absolutely beautiful. The music is well done and the pace of this film is good even though there are some long shots. These shots are done to emphasize the scene and add purpose to it. The score is very pretty and adds to the overall feel of the film.
C due to his paranormal point of view has to tell the audience how he's doing through his movements. Each gesture feels important and tells us everything we need to know about him. While this work is not solely due to Affleck as there were re-shoots with another man standing in, this choice was brilliant as it allows the audience to sympathize with him more. Mara as M is able to show her pain very well and she provides an excellent performance of a woman trying to deal with the loss of her husband and eventually move on.
The only big flaw that I can pinpoint is one particular scene that essentially explains the entire meaning of the film to the audience. This scene seemed sort of out of place in that the rest of the film is explained through visuals and then this one bit is dialogue. This took away from the film's beauty for me and I wish that Lowery could have explained this meaning in a more fitting way to the overall story. The way the film also circles around is not done very gracefully. It is understandable what this film was trying to do with that aspect. This flaw is apparent in all films that try to deal with a topic such as that and it's not easy to do but this film does not do it well.
While this film is beautifully made and it is very unique, it's a film that will not appeal to all audiences. However, this does not take away from the film that much. This film is very powerful and will have the audience feeling many types of emotion from sadness to happiness. Lowery is able to create a fantastic film that will have you thinking about your life in many ways. This film has the potential for a nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director. As it is already on Blu-ray, it cannot be recommended to see in theatres however the recommendation would not be to do so anyway. However, it is a really great but flawed film that really does not fit into any specific genre. It is one that is unlike any that has come out this year so far.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties
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