With A Ghost Story, acclaimed director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies
Saints, Pete’s Dragon) returns with a singular exploration of legacy, loss,
and the essential human longing for meaning and connection. Recently
deceased, a white-sheeted ghost (Academy Award-winner Casey Affleck)
returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Academy
Award-nominee Rooney Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has
become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and
the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost
embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s
ineffable questions and the enormity of existence. An unforgettable
meditation on love and grief, A Ghost Story emerges ecstatic and surreal—a
whole -unique experience that lingers long after the credits roll.
David Lowery's bold and unique haunting drama A Ghost Story was the closing
film at Sundance London back in June and goes on general release in the UK
on the 11th August. Reuniting with Ain't Them Bodies Saints' stars Casey
Affleck and Rooney Mara for something radically different from both that
and, especially, his previous film Pete's Dragon.
The film was inspired by an argument with his wife about whether or not to
move home coupled with the desire to make a horror movie where the ghost
was just an actor in a white sheet with eyes holes cut out just because he
found that image amusing. Largely ditching the horror idea, the resulting
film tells the story of a young couple called C & M, living in a
suburban Dallas home beset by odd noises and crashes. When C dies in a
sudden car accident, M is left alone to grieve unaware that C has returned
to haunt the house.
This is the basic set-up for a meditative and melancholy film about love,
loss and time. To say more would ruin the intriguing direction that the
film finally goes in, but it's certainly unlike anything you've seen
before. Affleck and Mara both give extraordinary performances, though
Affleck does spend a lot of the film covered by the aforementioned sheet.
Whilst indie songwriter and musician Will Oldham has a memorable mid-film
monologue at a house party.
It certainly won't be to everyone's tastes, the ghost in a sheet idea may
prove to be a little too comic and daft for some, and there are several
self-indulgent moments throughout (one scene has Mara eating half a pie in
real time as an expression of her grief). But for those willing to go in
with an open mind, the film leaves you with plenty to think about. Plus
it's beautifully shot in the Academy ratio by Andrew Droz Palermo with a
great score by previous Lowery collaborator Daniel Hart. Confirmation that
Lowery is one of the most interesting US filmmakers currently working.