To its credit, David Lowery’s A GHOST STORY may end up being the most polarizing non-political movie of the year. It is as beautiful as it is mundane, and the challenge that comes with viewing it will be rewarded solely on an individual basis.
Academy Award-winner Casey Affleck (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA) and Oscar nominee Rooney Mara (CAROL) star as “C” and “M,” a married couple who are arguing about moving forward/into a new home. Affleck is a quiet composer who is seemingly unable to express his thoughts outside of music, and Mara is the wife who is stuck wanting more — or, at least, something better than their now-difficult relationship. And, then, it goes from bad to worse.
Though barely 87 minutes-long, GHOST unfolds at a pace that feels both purposeful and excruciating. Many scenes (especially in the first act) are wide shots that linger far longer than expected, and there are times throughout when David Lowery could be accused of favoring style over substance. The unconventional storytelling (little-to-no dialogue… or even a plot) is matched by a nostalgic, square aspect ratio frame that screams “INDIE CINEMA” as it, somehow, works.
It’s hard to discuss the acting without going too far into spoiler territory (even though that may not even be a real possibility), but the chemistry between Affleck and Mara — who both starred in Lowery’s AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS — is evident. For a story like this, and told like this, it was imperative for their relationship to feel authentic; warts, and all… and they nailed it.
By the end of A GHOST STORY’s runtime, a far deeper conversation about life, death, and our humanistic need to be remembered is presented, and — if nothing more — will leave you in deep thought far after the end credits play out. Love it, like it, or hate it, this film will stay with you.
That pie-eating scene, though…
Four Beers out of Five.