I had wanted to see A Ghost Story because I’d had a rather profound experience with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints in 2013, with the same director and actors*. And because I knew the ghost in question is someone unjokingly just wearing a big heavily draped sheet and I am so into that. I chose October, because there’s a ghost. Even though I also knew that this movie isn’t really scary, per se. However, fascinatingly, while it’s definitely not the traditional horror scariness a ghost story may imply, what it does include is serious jump scares, way more jump scares than anything I’ve seen recently, until the next thing I watch probably (ho ho ho, stay tuned).
Anyway, what I wanted to say is that A Ghost Story is really unusual, and like usual I like unusualness a lot a lot. A friend who had recommended it to me said she thinks the script is probably less than eleven pages, and I believe she may be right! Love that. It’s composed of these long, loonng, steady quiet shots that just drift together, softly layering up like slow falling dead leaves. It’s floating, meditative, introspective, only sometimes what those shots are showing is just an open door in a dark house. For a long, loonng time. And then something unseen falls over, and I jolt. It’s like a new genre, like lullaby horror. Existential lullaby horror about grief, and time. Maybe mostly time. Or property? What is meant by something being haunted. Oh I don’t know. Maybe it’s just about Rooney Mara eating a pie for eight minutes. Frankly….
This is a really interesting movie qua movie, because it’s not a showcase for acting, it’s not a showcase for production design, it’s not actually a showcase for pie, and it’s not even a showcase for story, it’s just filmmaking. This is a Movie Object, and we really don’t run across these all that often. It’s a director’s project. This is David Lowery’s, who wanted to make a movie about a ghost.
*I really wish Casey Affleck would stop making work I like and putting me in this terrible position of disapproving of his personal choices so greatly but approving his movie choices so much