Friday, November 17, 2017

A Ghost Story Review

It has been one week since the first time I sat down and watched A Ghost Story, and exactly 90 minutes less than that since the second time I watched it. For the first time since my first viewing of Stanley Kubrick's masterful war film Paths of Glory (not comparing the two works, just stating a fact), I sat in the same spot and watched the same film twice consecutively and my mind never even skipped a beat as to wondering whether I should or not. There was no, but my time could be spent better doing this or that, or I could watch something else instead. I couldn't. My mind was swimming through a vast ocean of WTF after witnessing this extraordinary film from writer/director David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Pete's Dragon), and I knew instantly I needed more time to dive in and try to understand everything. All I knew through my first 90 minutes was that I absolutely fucking loved it.

A young couple is shown living in a small home, C (Casey Affleck), a struggling musician and M, (Rooney Mara) his wife. Early on in the film they are awoken to a loud bang sound on their piano but upon closer inspection, there doesn't seem to be a explainable reason as to what caused it. They return to bed, and based on the title of the film, if you didn't know the type of narrative you were about to explore with A Ghost Story, you might have thought that the piano scene was the beginning of a typical horror genre picture, one that sets the table slowly and builds the terror. Nothing about A Ghost Story is typical, horror, or a genre pick of any kind. This is a wholly original, fascinating work.

The camera cuts to a straightaway look at their home, with a bit of smoke floating through the frame from the right hand side, and we pan over to see what is creating it: a car accident. C is the driver of one of the vehicles, his lifeless body resting on the steering wheel, and Lowery lingers his shot on him to make it abundantly clear that this is not a wreck he will be walking away from (alive, at least).

The film is slow paced, focusing on love and what it means to lose it, how much it hurts, and how it can haunt those left behind, in more ways than one. I'm certain that some viewers will be turned off by the way time can seemingly stand still during specific moments on the film, like watching M break down eating an entire pie, and we just sit and watch like a fly on the wall seeing something deeply private, deeply personal. Time is a tricky thing through A Ghost Story, the way a moment can feel like an eternity and an eternity can bounce by in a blink.

I found every damn second of A Ghost Story to be ravishing, a film that touched me personally and honestly quite profoundly. It's why I had to watch it twice back to back and why I haven't stopped thinking about it for a week now. It might just be the best movie of 2017 thus far.



  1. I'm so glad you got to see this! This is one of my absolute favorites from this year. I know my top three will be difficult.

    1. Excellent, you love it too! I have it slotted as my #2 film of the year as of this moment, but still a lot to see (including Last Jedi tomorrow which I will probably love a whole lot)