A Ghost Story (2017) Movie Review

I saw Requiem for a Dream when I was 13 years old. My sister had just gone away to college and she was telling me about this great movie and how I needed to see it. I begged my dad to take me to the mall to get the DVD at FYE. I watched it every day for almost two weeks straight, and up until today, I’ve said it’s the best movie I’ve ever seen. Now, it’s the second best movie I’ve ever seen. David Lowery’s A Ghost Story has taken over that spot. Potential spoilers ahead. 

Starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, A Ghost Story follows a recently deceased man as he becomes a ghost and attempts to reconnect with his bereft wife. The story explores the themes of loss, love and the enormity of existence. This is an A24 release, and continues their trend of thought provoking and smart films that toe the line of horror without diving headfirst into the genre.

First, I want to make this clear. A Ghost Story is not your typical horror film. I’d say this is one the same level as something like A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. There are elements of horror, but it is not outright horror. The thing I found truly frightening, however, was the existential dread present throughout the whole film. It pulls no punches, and reminds you frequently that you will die, everyone you love will die, and there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s even a monologue near the middle of the film about how everyone on earth is going to die and that one day the planet will be engulfed by the sun. Very heavy stuff. It’s not easy to face your own mortality this way, but I’m very happy that A Ghost Story was able to present the topic in an effective way.

A Ghost Story felt incredibly realistic. Following the death of C (Affleck), M (Mara) is seen coming home to a pie left by a friend. She proceeds to eat it furiously and seems to be on the verge of breaking down. She rushes to the bathroom to vomit afterwards. Things like that made this film seem so human. I’ve lost friends and I’ve handled those losses all differently, and I noticed various things that M did that I have also done. Things like that will always make a film resonate with me. I want to be able to put myself in the character’s shoes. Even beyond how M acted, there were other things that resonated with me. I have my own belief system, and it was interesting to see the film line up with what I was thinking.

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck

The final thing about A Ghost Story is that it’s incredibly sad. As you may have been able to tell, it’s tackling a tough subject and asking questions no one wants to answer. I’d like to be honest with everyone at this point. The film made me tear up multiple times and forced me to ask myself questions that I had no interest in thinking about. I truly feel that that is a sign of a successful, challenging film and one that I don’t think people should take lightly. 

I cannot praise A Ghost Story enough. It’s a challenging film that asks the really tough questions in life. It has a supernatural plot line while still remaining to feel realistic through Rooney Mara’s performance. I urge everyone to check this out the first chance you get. Check out the trailer below, and let us know what you think!

About Matt Stumpf

My name's Matt, and I love all things horror. Books, movies, video games; you name it, I like it. Martyrs is my favorite horror film, and everyone should watch it. I also have a soft-spot for those cheesy 80's slashers. I'm still slightly convinced that Faces of Death is real.

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