This movie is simultaneously not for everyone, while also trying to demand everyone's attention. That statement may confuse some people, so please listen closely if you're intrigued, because this review if going to be about me gushing on how incredible this film is. Whole critics seem to general love this film, average moviegoers seem to be pretty divisive on this film in retrospect. Personally, I completely see how many would be bored or turned off by this film, so whether or not you like this film is up to you. Personally, this film opened my mind in ways I wasn't expecting and I found myself in a state of transfixion when the credits began to role. So, this review will definitely lean heavily on a recommendation to everyone, but please be advised that the film itself is absolutely not for everyone. Now that I have that out of the way, let's dive in.
As a couple is about to move out of their first house onto bigger and better things, the husband (Casey Affleck) dies in a tragic accident. The film then follows the wife (Rooney Mara) as she copes with her loss. The husband returns in ghost form, walking around the halls of the house, watching her every move, stating that people really do watch over us after they die. This premise is fantastic, but the visuals themselves and the way the movie is constructed is what I feel may turn many people off. Coming off cheap by literally having the husband dressed in a bed sheet, the movie may seem cheesy to some, but that's not the point of it at all. From long takes of people sitting alone in a room to time travel in order to open viewers mind's, this movie takes many risks, but I think they are all genius in their own right if you're in the proper mood when watching this film.
Going from many short films, to independent features, to a big blockbuster in last year's Pete's Dragon, director David Lowrey has been all over the business, so it was pretty clear that this was a passion project for him, and that the amount of viewers this film gained didn't matter to him in the slightest. I think this was the best way to make a movie like this, because only the most hardcore film fans will probably discover it, which is where I feel it's best suited anyways. There is so much symbolism about the meaning of life and which aspects of it really matter the most, but I feel as though many viewers won't catch on. Once again, if you're in the right mindset and are open to literally anything, then I believe you'll have the same reaction to this film that I did.
Many viewers like being able to relate to a character when they speak to someone and open up about themselves, but this film is very far from anything like that. There are stretches of the film that can last up to 30 minutes without a single word being spoken, leaving it up to your interpretation on how they're feeling or what they're thinking. This is a very lonely-feeling film that you need to be relaxed and open-minded about. In my opinion, when a film can show you a piece of imagery and have you understand what a character is going through, what they're thinking, all while giving you a sincere look at our planet as a whole, when it's accomplishing everything it set out to do, and then some. Simply put, sometimes showing things to an audience is much more powerful than having it explained.
In the end, A Ghost Story is strangely enough one of the most powerful experiences you'll be able to see an all of 2017. Now, there isn't much dialogue, so you really have to pay attention and think about every piece of imagery, but if you're willing to do that, then I believe you will have a terrific experience as well. If you're not into this film after the first 10-20 minutes then you're either not in the right mindset or it's just not for you, which I completely understand. Many people will hate this movie, but I believe the message itself is worth waiting for alone. A Ghost Story is easily one of my favourite films of the year and I can't wait to watch it multiple times