Culture, Entertainment, Review

Film Review: A Ghost Story

Off 21

Photo credit: Bret Curry. Courtesy of A24.

Humanity Hallows Issue 6 Out Now
Pick up your copy on campus or read online

By David Keyworth

What’s it like to be a ghost that no one can see?

In writer-director David Lowery’s new film, it involves a lot of hanging around indoors, watching your ex-lover, a Spanish family and a man in dungarees at a party, who talks at length about the end of the universe.

A Ghost Story is set in modern day Texas. C (Casey Affleck) and M (Rooney Mara) live in a setting that is either idyllic ror just remote, depending on your point of view. Apart from the dawn chorus, and occasionally bumps in the night, nothing disturbs their love nest.

The idyll ends abruptly when C dies in a car crash. But he is not yet ready to rest in peace. He rises up from his morgue-bed and returns to the ranch-style house, wearing just a white sheet – looking like someone who has put minimal effort into their Halloween costume.

The tension from the first half of the film comes from expecting that someone will see him in the house and scream the walls down.

The ghost is mostly a voyeur and through his eyeholes we see M return to the empty house. In one of the most powerful scenes, Rooney Mara sits on the kitchen floor, eating a pie until she becomes sick with grief. It’s a great example of acting and directing which is utterly compelling even though ‘nothing happens’.

In any film which involves long periods without dialogue, the soundtrack plays a crucial role. Daniel Hart’s original score does not disappoint – it is ominous, lyrical and mournful.

In the last section, the film moves into time-travel territory. This produces some stunning cinematography but threatens to take us too far away from the emotional core. There are also some elements of the narrative which I didn’t quite get – for example, the ghost can hold objects but prefers to scratch at a wall with his fingernail.

In the end, though, we return to the domestic setting and the poignant meditation on the way that love and grief are inevitable bedfellows.

A Ghost Story is just over an hour and half long. It has a 12a certificate, although I’m glad I didn’t see it when I was 12-years-old as I think it would have resulted in a few sleepless nights. It is a ‘Scared Sheetless’ production.

David Keyworth is an MA Creative Writing student at Manchester Metropolitan University.

About the author / 

Humanity Hallows
Humanity Hallows

Humanity Hallows is Manchester Metropolitan University's official student magazine.

More News Stories:

  • photos of Carly Rae Summers

    Business Or Pleasure For Adult Film Star Student?

    By Neil Harrison & Natalie Carragher It’s difficult not to be a little envious of Carly Rae Summers. At a time when, for most of us, university life is fraught with worry about mounting debts and bleak employment prospects – not to mention coursework, exams and covering the rent – to encounter a confident young…

  • Elie Saab Fall 2016 Couture Collection

    By Marniface Image source: WWD Elie Saab’s new couture collection for 2016 was inspired by “The Big Apple” – a ready-made New York theme ahead of his upcoming store in the city. The iconic and inspirational Elie Saab is known for creating collections that smoothly blend into the next. Over the past few collections, Elie has brought…

  • Makeup picks: International delivery

    By Marniface Hello lovelies, So, I have a little confession to make… I am absolutely obsessed with Bassam Fattouh’s Lipgloss in Cotton Candy. When I was in Beirut, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this and I love it so much that I used it daily during my summer there. The lipgloss is soft and…

Instagram Feed

Something is wrong. Response takes too long or there is JS error. Press Ctrl+Shift+J or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac.