Tuesday, September 19, 2017

'A Ghost Story' Is a Minimalist Supernatural Drama with a Profound Theme

A Ghost Story, despite whatever its title may suggest, is not a horror film.  It’s more of a philosophical arthouse drama with a supernatural twist that explores love, life, loss, and existence.

Directed and written by David Lowery (the same guy behind Pete’s Dragon), it stars Casey Afleck and Rooney Mara as a couple who are suddenly torn apart by a car accident. The deceased husband turns into a ghost, returning to their house to become a passive observer of the grieving wife.  He soon discovers that time now works differently on him, and as he gradually transcends it, he sets off on an existential and historical cosmic journey in search for closure and hope of rediscovering lost love.
There’s a wonderful, moving stylishness to it.  While arthouse films are sometimes susceptible to pretentiousness, this movie has a sense of legitimacy.  It truly puts the “art” on “arthouse.”  It provokes thought and emotion, while emitting beauty that appeals to the senses – as what great art does.  It opts for a minimalist approach that totally works, brought about by its small $100,000 budget and embodied by its portrayal of the ghost: an actor covered in white sheet with two holes for the eyes – not unlike a basic, makeshift ghost costume that a kid makes for Halloween or play.  In addition, it’s interestingly shot in 1:33:1 aspect ratio, giving the film a sense of being boxed in, which is just perfect for its look and motif.

So, yeah, I think A Ghost Story is worth a watch.  It’s an original, poignant, insightful film that rejects nihilism and encourages its audience to make life meaningful, even amid its pain and seeming pointlessness – or, at least, this is what I like to think the film’s message is.

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