By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –
Admittedly, if you know nothing about A Ghost Story and then you watch the trailer you’ll think it either looks like the worst movie ever made, or possibly just the dumbest. However, if you give this film a chance, it poses several existential questions and attempts to answer them. It’s a meditative piece on life, love and how things are connected through time, even when we don’t know it.
Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara are a married couple living in a house. No names are told and they’re credited with M and C. Casey (C) dies in a car accident and his spirit comes back as a man under a white bed sheet. He goes back to the house to attempt to reconnect with his bereaved wife M(Rooney Mara). Eventually C’s Ghost stays in the house even after M has moved on, and travels through time with the house. If there was a film to show in your philosophy class about time, love, and connection, this would be it.
Casey Affleck never ceases to amaze with his acting. There is very little talking in this film. In fact, the part with the most talking is the guys pretty much explaining the plot of the film. With this lack of dialogue, you need to have actors who can convey emotion without talking. This acting, at times, can be much more difficult. That is why Casey Affleck deserved to win Best Actor last year in Manchester by the Sea. His character was very introverted and withdrawn. Therefore, a lot of Casey’s acting was in his expressions and emotions. This film is the same way; however, he is under a sheet. We cannot see his face, yet he still is able to portray anger or curiosity. Rooney Mara is excellent as well. One of her best scenes of her career might be the scene with the pie.
With this kind of minimalist script, you need other ways to tell your story. In this film they use the camera and editing to great effect. This film is full of long takes, scenes that almost bring anxiety because you are waiting for something else to happen or a cut but the camera stays still; allowing the actors to act with pure emotion, and the result is some beautiful moments. The opening scene is very personal and only contains maybe ten words, yet we understand everything about this couple with this long take as the camera suspends in a medium shot above their bed. In a lesser director’s hands this film’s 92 minute runtime would feel like 180 minutes. However, with the talented David Lowery it feels like barely over an hour in a very good way.
This is a quiet (figuratively and literally) film which also makes it very personal. There are times it is so quiet you can hear the person two rows behind you breathe. This film’s thought-provoking messages and questions will get inside of you and marinate for days. I recommend seeing this with someone so you can both discuss this film and digest it together. If I had watched this alone, I’d be dying to talk to someone about its meaning.
A Ghost Story is a beautiful and personal film that will leave you thinking for days about the meaning of life. I couldn’t’ recommend this film enough. It’s a slow build, but the payoff is worth the wait.
A Ghost Story (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for each new tenant of the house
Take a Drink: for very jump in time
Take a Drink: for sunspots and paper notes
Take a Drink: every time you feel sad for the neighbor ghost.
Take a Sip: every time Rooney takes a bite of pie.
Do a Shot: whenever you jump- there’s some jumping in here, too
Drink a few beers after the film: while you contemplate life.