A Ghost Story has to be one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen.
When I was first greeted with the trailer of A Ghost Story I have to admit I laughed out loud. Seeing a grown man underneath the old-fashioned blanket-ghost costume came across incredibly comical to me. However, this film is anything but a comedy.
A Ghost Story comes from David Lowery who wrote and directed the masterpiece. Apparently he wrote the first draft within a day which I completely believe to be true as there is so little dialogue within the script. While watching a thought popped into my head: “It’s like a series of photographs.” You may be thinking, well duh – that’s what cinema is! But each shot was utterly beautiful – it was like a photographer had planned each shot and studied the composition down to the last inch. I don’t think there’s a signal frame from the film that I wouldn’t happily print to hang on the wall.
Image from: A24
However, you may be worrying that because the film is so beautiful in terms of cinematography that might be its only substance. If you are thinking this, I assure you otherwise. A Ghost Story is a heart-warming tale of love, time and dying wishes. If you’re a restless type who requires a fast paced film with car chases and shoot outs, I’d probably recommend Baby Driver over this film. However, I would still urge you to give it a go.
I have to admit, at times A Ghost Story annoyed me. I personally don’t feel a 5-10 minute shot of a girl eating a pie is particularly fascinating, nor a couple kissing in bed, and after a few minutes of these continuous shots I began to fidget. I do understand why Lowery kept these shots this length, I do understand what it’s meant to convey, but, overall, I really didn’t see the need for it and I personally feel this is what will cause people to call A Ghost Story “pretentious.”
Furthermore, I did wish there was more substance to the backstory. The focus was definitely more on the “afterlife” but I had hoped for a little more to sink my teeth into. For example, I don’t quite understand how C died. Yes, there was a car crash, but was he not looking? Was he drunk? Was it someone he knew that hit him? Maybe I’m simply asking these questions as I love the film and want more, more, more – but I think if we had this information we would have further connected with the character.
Image from: Vulture
For this review the focus has to remain on the cinematography and story as there’s not a lot else to write about. I can’t exactly talk about the acting in great detail as the main actor spends the majority of the film underneath a blanket (which, by the way, the wardrobe department deserve props for as it moved and sat perfectly throughout the entire film).
One aspect that I truly admire about the story is that Lowery avoids cliches. I really hate films that show one half of a couple moving on while the other person has to watch in despair. I breathed in relief when M moved out, knowing that C wouldn’t have to painfully watch his Mrs live with another man, have his children and grow old together. I much preferred the narrative Lowery presented.
Overall, I have to urge you to see A Ghost Story. Go yourself one evening, but not if you feel stressed or restless. Go when you’re in the mood for a journey – not a jam-packed plot – and I assure you, you’ll enjoy it. Possibly my favourite thing about A Ghost Story was at the very beginning, before the film had even started, when the screen shrunk inwards, rather than expanding outwards. This alone was enough to grab my attention, and it continued to hold it throughout the entire film.
Image from: Bleeding Cool