Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story is a film that just about blew my mind at Sundance this year.  It stayed with me for quite a while and I eagerly anticipated its wide release so I could see it again.  I have to say that I found it to be even more profound upon a second viewing on Friday night and I was not alone in my reaction.  The entire audience stayed seated in absolute silence long after the credits had rolled and the lights had come back on.  The narrative revolves around a man (Casey Affleck) who dies in a car accident and returns, shrouded in a sheet, to the home he shared with his wife (Rooney Mara).  He stays and watches her as she grieves and then eventually moves away.  He continues to haunt the house for decades as it is occupied by various people, is demolished, and is replaced by a high-rise building until he is finally able to let go of his attachment.  There is another ghost haunting the house next door until he is able to leave behind a person he is waiting for.  The ghost is one of the most sympathetic characters I've ever seen on film, even completely shrouded as he is, and the long, sustained shots with very little action are strangely compelling.  The score is very evocative and greatly enhances the otherworldly mood.  As previously mentioned, I found many of the themes to be so moving.  I've always believed that the spiritual aspect of humanity is more important than the physical which is, indeed, impermanent.  We must ultimately leave behind our attachment to people, places, and things to progress on our journey.  It is enchanting to believe that we leave behind a piece of ourselves and that we will be remembered but our time here is temporary and time inevitably and inexorably moves on.  We don't really belong here in this physical plane.  I know I will be thinking about these ideas for a long time to come and I suspect that this beautiful film will provide even more philosophical musings each time I watch it.  I must admit that A Ghost Story might not appeal to everyone.  It is a high-concept film and you must commit to this concept fully in order to appreciate it but, if you can, you will be forever changed by its powerful message.

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