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A Ghost Story (8/10)
Director: David Lowery
Runtime: 92 Minutes
It’s rare that you come across a film that when its over, you just have to sit there and relish in what you’ve just witnessed. This for me was “A Ghost Story”. A lot of critics have said this is a movie you’ll either love or hate, now although I do agree with that, I personally loved this movie. I’ll have to watch it a second time because I do believe it can potentially be higher than an 8. I’ve heard its better during a second viewing but I want this review to be my first opinions straight after watching it.
This time around there’s not much story I can write about and that’s because the story itself is very simplistic in nature. Casey Affleck plays a recently deceased man who comes back as a ghost and goes back to his suburban home to console his grieving wife. He finds that he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch as his life and the women he loved slowly slips away.
The main two characters are played by Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. At no given point are we ever told their names, they simply go by C and M. One of the movies most interesting points is its decision to keep C under a sheet for a large majority of the movie. As well as keeping him mute, the sheet stops him from expressing any emotions which makes certain scenes even harder to watch because you realise that C wants to cry, or express his love to M but he cant. All he can do is stand there and watch as everything around him evolves. Imagine the film as a sequence of images, the only way we ever know C’s emotions is through his actions. If he’s sad then he tilts his head down, anger then he’ll hold his shoulders in a particular way. It almost reminded me of early cinema, when there was only actions on screen and barely any speech.
The editing only helps to mess with our perception of time. Throughout the movie we’re left questioning how much time has passed for C, the movie uses many hard drawn out cuts to traverse us through the story. This helps us to know that C perceives time differently. I’d say to my readers if you’re going to see this movie then expect a lot of questions and barely any answers. But maybe that’s for the best, there’s so much about the movie I want to know and perhaps that’ll make my second viewing even better. This is a movie that asks its audience many questions instead of answering them. I love how this movie perceives ghosthood, a purgatory state where you’re chained to a life that you refuse to leave.
The movie’s narrative is extremely simple and its filmmaking so down to earth. There’s barely any dialogue and the majority of the movie is spoken through actions. At its heart, this is definitely a ghost story but not as you’d expect. There’s no horror themes here and you’ll be watching a melodrama that deals in big ideas. The movies aspect ratio is much different than you’ve probably ever seen before, again making me feel like I’m watching a classic silent movie. It’s up to the audience why they think the director chose this, for me I think it means that some stories neither have beginnings or ends, but simply just everything we’re witnessing unfold.
Overall, as mentioned at the start of this review people seem to either love or hate this movie. I’m in the latter half of this and I personally loved this movie. It has so much to say about our perception of time and how some peoples love can be so strong that even after death they refuse to leave.