The life of a ghost is an interesting concept and it is one that takes center stage in David Lowery's latest film A Ghost Story starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. In this indie film, we explore the "life" of a ghost from his creation to his eventual departure. Casey Affleck takes on the role of our ghost who is haunting his old home after his sudden unexpected death. He spends his days watching his wife (Rooney Mara) as she struggles to pick up the pieces after her husband's sudden death. The life of this ghost takes us on an interesting journey exploring love, loss, time, and the human condition.
I was fascinated by this film from the first trailer I saw for it a few month ago. The concept seemed new and fresh and almost comical (how could it not be when you have a ghost dressed like every ghostly stereotype you have ever heard of - in a white sheet). The story has plenty of twists and turns and many things that will make you think. Casey Affleck does a decent job when we actually get to see his face, but I did spend a good chunk of the film wondering if it was actually him under the sheet (seriously, couldn't we save a boatload on production costs if we only had him for the opening shots?). Rooney Mara really steps up as the star of the film, mostly because she is who we primarily get to see. Although there is one overly weird scene where we watch her eat a pie. An entire pie. The whole thing. By herself. It is a strange scene and while I get that she is coping with the loss of her husband, I don't think we needed to be there to witness the entire strange act of that. There are plenty of scenes that the camera holds for just too long and I think that is the biggest drawback of the film. Many times I was wishing it would speed up and get on with the story, but it is hard to do that we are focusing an extra 10-20 seconds on long stares across the room or in the case, Rooney sadly eating an entire pie on the kitchen floor. Once you get past that though, the film itself gets somewhat interesting. The highlights are when our ghost with the most notices he is not alone and spies another ghost haunting the house next door or when a new family moves in after his wife leaves and he makes a point to haunt them out of his house with some crazy poltergeist activity. It is interesting how the director chose to explain things like the life of this ghost and why some thing happens the way they do and the concept of ghosts lingering in places they don't belong.
Overall, I think people should check this one out. Indie movie buffs should enjoy it for the interesting concept, acting, and the camera work, but even if that isn't your thing, the story itself should get your gears working thinking about how the film ultimately comes together and about just what the afterlife may hold. It is a quiet, but moving film and I think it deserves to be seen. This won't be everyone's cup of tea, but you never know, t just may be yours.
A Ghost Story opens in Houston on July 28th.
A Ghost Story