A Ghost Story, David Lowery’s supernatural drama starring Rooney Mara and a sheet-clad Casey Affleck, is unlike anything else that’s come before it. It’s a strange, challenging piece of cinema that’s impossible to look away from, even as it forces you to question why you’re watching it.
A Ghost Story is about a man called C (Casey Affleck), a woman called M (Rooney Mara), and what happens when the former dies. Its plot, to the point that it has one, focuses on C’s journey through the afterlife as a ghost—visualized here as a giant white sheet with darkened eye holes—and how M fits into it as she deals with her grief and eventually moves on with her life.
It is not a film for everyone. Hell, it’s barely a film for anyone. Its minimal dialogue and glacial pace make its 90 minutes feel like twice that. It devolves into a rumination on theme with little emphasis on story early on. It takes a couple huge leaps and hopes viewers will be ready and willing to go along with them. Its biggest chunk of dialogue belongs to a guy who appears in one scene and goes on a nihilistic rant that hammers the movie’s decidedly not nihilistic themes home for about as long as Rooney Mara eats pie.
But I think I loved it. A Ghost Story is everything mentioned above, and it is none of it. It is a wholly original, unflinchingly unique piece of cinema that ends up somewhere unexpected. Most people won’t see it, and I’d venture that many who do will struggle to justify the time they spent doing so. But for viewers willing to slog through this story of love, death, grief, and growth, there’s something really special here.
A Ghost Story is in (some) theaters now. Written and directed by David Lowery, it stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.