A GHOST STORY 
Directed by: David Lowery
Written by: David Lowery
Casey Affleck (C)
Rooney Mara (M)
McColm Cephas Jr. (Little Boy)
Kenneisha Thompson (Doctor)
Liz Cardenas (Linda)
Barlow Jacobs (Gentleman Caller)
Carlos Bermudez (Carlos)
Yasmina Gutierrez (Yasmina)
‘C’ and ‘M’ live together in an old house, C is a composer who seems to have an affinity with the house, whereas M is more than happy to leave and move on to another property. Unfortunately, before the couple can resolve their position on the property and C is killed in an accident. His ghost on leaving the mortuary decides to trek back home back to his wife M and stay with her rather than move on to what appears to be another dimension. Unable to affect the real world, invisible to all, C’s ghost must endlessly watch life unfold around him as he stays the same, in the same place, waiting for some intangible event.
Goodness me, this film is the most polarising film I think I have ever seen. There appears to be one group of people who unresolvedly hate the film and another who absolutely love it but nothing in between.
I can see why people would walk-out in cinema showings and hate the movie with a passion. Nothing happens as such, there is little to no story but I maintain that this is the point. When we are gone, life goes on slowly, inexorably, if we could observe it as a ‘ghost’ that is how it would seem. We have no idea but I would guess most of use through some longing would try and connect with those we loved and knew, we would return to places that were familiar to us, similar to the zombies in Romero’s ‘Dead’ films would we gravity to places that meant something to us, were important, in our lives.
There isn’t much dialogue and there are long stretches, 20 minutes or more, where little happens, the pie-eating scene is famous in the annoyance for some, yet for others, it shows the solitude of grief and how it can be dealt with. One real bugbear for me though, when there was some small dialogue, is Casey Affleck’s insistence on the realism of ‘mumblecore’. I could understand little of what he said. I’m old and my hearing is not what it was but it is also okay, I’ve had it tested recently, he mumbles and it’s hard to understand what he says. So annoying. Luckily as a ghost, he says nothing. Rooney Mara has I would less dialogue but skilfully acts emotions with just her face or even how she walks to and from a room or to a door.
This is not a film for the average film-goer and in particular the multiplex ‘action movie-romantic comedy’ crowd but if you are patient prepared for a quiet thoughtful film then you might be able to take something away from it.
I’m somewhere in between the two camps. I can see that the film does drag on and showing the futility of staying in a place where you no longer belong, trying to change something you can’t change and not letting go in glorious slow-time with little dialogue or on-screen stimulation is perhaps, whilst making a valid point, foolhardy. The idea of the ghost being a traditional Halloween sheet is a clever touch and seems to be saying it is a ghost but it doesn’t matter. To be utterly fair to Lowery and his cast I stuck without and overall I enjoyed it more than it rubbed me up the wrong way. I’m not sure about the time-traveling aspect or what it was adding to the story or what it was trying to say, perhaps ‘this goes on forever’ it is truly the circle of life and there is no end or beginning unless you choose to leave it. Only love helps you leave it. Perhaps, maybe?
Then again if you can stand the slow pace and the odd story this is probably the point you make your mind up about the story and what it means. It could mean different to each and every one of use.
Then again you could intensely dislike it, it will not be the first film that will make you feel this way nor the last, you could equally really like it. Who knows?