A Ghost Story marks David Lowry's return to cinema since his 2013 indie hit "Ain't Them Bodies Saints". Telling the story of a young couple (Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara) who buy a home and plan to start a life together in it until tragedy strikes. The Man suddenly dies and leaves the wife to fend for herself and build a life in the house by herself instead of with the man she loves. All while she is going through this in reality, the Man begins to haunt the home in a classical white sheet donning way. Throughout the years of being trapped to haunt this home, The Ghost also has to witness the love of his past life continue on without him and experience the moments of life without him. It is a beautiful and heart wrenching film that delves deeper into what grief does to not only a person but to a ghost.
Whether you believe in an after life or not, A Ghost Story isn't worried about your beliefs. It plays out like a fantasy and that's how it stays which really bodes well for it. It never reaches beyond what is happening with the Man and the Woman and, of course, the House (which becomes a character in and of itself). David Lowry does a great job at setting up a "what if" scenario that all you can do is ask yourself, "what would I do in this situation?" The scariest part of that is there is literally nothing you can do. That rationalization is probably scarier than most horror films out today.
The film itself is a very digestible 90 minutes which is of a perfect length for this film because it doesn't go overboard and forget what it is. It's a horror film that is light on scares but heavy on thoughts and brains. There's no real scares. The big scare is putting yourself in the shoes of the ghost. What would you do if you had to witness your loved one go through grief and you couldn't do anything about it? You couldn't comfort them. You couldn't hold them. You could just watch. What if the person you loved moved on from you? What if they forget you? These questions are what made A Ghost Story scary for me. The level of helplessness that the film portrays is horrifying enough to remind audiences that death is still scary.
Overall, the film is an experimental ghost story that shows Lowry in top form both as a writer and a director. The crass nature of reality is that death is lonely and he captures that perfectly. While many who take a look at the poster will certainly think that the film is just another horror movie trying to capitalize on some paranormal money, A Ghost Story is much more than that. It is beautiful to watch, heart wrenching to experience and an absolute delight cinematically.