Published Jul 20, 2017Within minutes of Pete's Dragon director David Lowery's latest artful and intense drama, A Ghost Story, the character played by Casey Affleck — who recently won an Academy Award and, lest we forget, was accused of sexual harassment — dies a horrible death, then spends the rest of the film stalking the screen, barely moving a muscle with an oversized bed sheet wrapped around his body.
On paper, it probably sounds like a Funny or Die sketch poking fun at the Hollywood elite, or an award-winning role from Kirk Lazarus's career. But Lowery's A Ghost Story is no joke.
Equally haunting and gripping, it tells the tale of a couple torn apart after a car crash and what happens after the accident (namely: one of them moving on).
Lowery reportedly got the idea for the film while arguing with his wife about whether or not they should move back to Texas. In doing so, Lowery was obviously inspired to ponder an age-old question: Is a house a home, or is it the people inside of it?
That's the question explored over A Ghost Story's 90s minutes, as Affleck's character's widow (Rooney Mara, who also acted alongside the actor and in front of Lowery's lens in Ain't Them Bodies Saints) decides to move out, and a string of characters — from a Mexican-American family, to a motley crew of 30-something partiers, to land developers, worker bees and pilgrims — slide in and occupy the land.
At its base level, A Ghost Story deals with love and loss. At its most sophisticated, the film deals with ideas related to the eternal return. All of it is extremely potent thanks to a powerful script and performances from its stars (especially Mara, who even manages to make eating a pie the saddest thing in the world thanks to one drawn out scene).
At times, the movie can feel a bit pretentious, but even singer-songwriter Will Oldham effortlessly delivering a monologue midway through the movie that sounds like a Coles Notes version of A Short History of Nearly Everything still feels like it fits here. Like all good ghost stories, the film leaves an impression long after it's done, even if you can't fully comprehend it.