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Review: A Ghost Story – “A most singular piece of art”

If films can be described as a visual experience, then A Ghost Story – the haunting new film from writer/director David Lowery – can be described as an emotional one.

Casey Affleck plays the central role of a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost who returns to his small-town suburban home that he shared with his wife (Rooney Mara), in a bid to reconnect with her. With scarce little dialogue and slow, drawn-out sequences, this is the pinnacle of art-house filmmaking, more poetry than it is movie.

A cinematic exploration of grief, love, loneliness and the passing of time, A Ghost Story is likely to leave you with chills, though not for any fear factor, as the film’s title may imply. Rather, they’re caused by a feeling of emptiness that will follow you out of the cinema, staying with you the same quiet, haunting way Affleck’s ghost stays at the house where he knew love and happiness. Even after the ravages of time transform his home to a dismal modern concrete cage, he remains rooted to the spot; a confused, trapped soul in a soulless place.

A slow-moving film if there ever was one, the gradual pace works to the story’s advantage, except in one excruciatingly memorable sequence in which we are forced to watch an entire pie being eaten by Mara’s grieving widow. This is made up for in a later scene however, in which a partygoer hypnotises us with his take on the meaning of life, providing a longed-for breathe of fresh air in the film’s only real burst of dialogue, and a powerful one at that.

If you like your films thought provoking and innovative, look no further; A Ghost Story is a most singular piece of art. A word of advice though… don’t go in if you are sleepy!

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