Casey Affleck, Actor: Manchester by the Sea. An accomplished and striking performer, Academy Award® winner Casey Affleck has established himself as a powerful leading man with performances in multiple upcoming projects. Caleb Casey McGuire Affleck-Boldt was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Rooney Mara, Actress: The Social Network. Actress and philanthropist Rooney Mara was born on April 17, 1985 in Bedford, New York. She made her screen debut in the slasher film Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005), went on to have a supporting role in the independent coming-of-age drama Tanner Hall (2009), and has since starred in the horror remake A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), the biographical drama The Social Network (2010), the ...
David Lowery, Director: Pete's Dragon. David Lowery was born on December 26, 1980 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. He is an editor and director, known for Pete's Dragon (2016), Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013) and A Ghost Story (2017). He has been married to Augustine Frizzell since October 10, 2010.
Hiding behind the façade of a singular relationship drama where death is shown as tragedy, the film comes to life when the slow-paced direction turns into a metaphor for how we view ourselves in a universally never-ending series of tragedy.
Lowery puts on his Terrence Malick big boy shoes and sets up the poetic visual language of showing how our (personal) history will always feel drawn out. Someone else’s past will always feel short and uneventful. The future will always come off as a dream world of vast imagination and experimentation.
Look at the pacing - you will notice how drawn out the scenes of grief are when Affleck’s character passes away and the only source of comfort rests in the ingredients of a pie. The moments we feel the most emotion always feel never-ending and physically/mentally evolutionary.
It is not until we begin to occupy ourselves that the progression of “moving on” carries on in a blur. The entire film only lasts 87 minutes, a showcase of how short our time actually is, but how long it feels.
The two lead performances offer the believability of a relationship. Arguments become forgotten in memory, but remembered in action; love is forgotten in action but remembered in memory.
Mara’s scenes really capture the essence of our personal intrigue in ourselves and our future. It is not her actions necessarily that act on this, but her face. Her face carries a sense of a personal battle, one I feel we all can connect with.
It is the battle of deciding if our life is too important to be kept in a cage of the past and acting on the effort to progress. She acts on this in the film, but her face carries the assurance needed for the film to really work well.
The spirit/ghost – the real lead – is a strong reminder of how we, as people, occupy the themes of time and history incorrectly.
It remains in the same place, waiting for an elapsed time for the love to return. At this point in the film, we begin to see that grief exists not only in the widow, but in the one who died as well.
That grief, no matter the signs that a return is impossible, carries a personal feeling of waiting for the continued existence of something that shouldn’t come back.
It is like a picture of someone who died, kept in the past and never let to live their life as someone with progression.
The audience is questioned by a monologue – the only monologue of the film – to think about life with no meaning, no history that deserves exploring. Mara’s character even challenges that thought with a quick, but meaningful line of dialogue in saying “We don’t have as much history here as you think.”
History is equally in the past and the future, and the scales can be skewed, depending on the person. In the film, Affleck is viewing history as the past while Mara sees history as the future. They want separate history to exist at once.
The depressingly distinct attitude of the film mirrors one experienced during an existential crisis. Through the exploration of the past and representing the present accurately, while ignoring, but acknowledging a future, the hope of a personal meaning exists.
Directed by David Lowery. With Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, McColm Cephas Jr., Kenneisha Thompson. In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.
With A GHOST STORY, acclaimed director David Lowery (AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS, PETE'S DRAGON) returns with a singular exploration of legacy, loss, and the essential human longing for meaning and connection.
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