A Ghost Story ★★½

A silent meditation on love, loss, existence & attachment that's patiently crafted & calmly narrated, A Ghost Story is a poignant drama that explores its existential themes in an unconventional, almost experimental manner, is wonderfully supported by its cast, and while it had a few interesting things going on at first, the film ultimately ends up overstaying its welcome.

The story follows a recently deceased man who awakens as a white-sheeted ghost and returns to his house where he watches his wife grieve. Unstuck in time due to his spectral state, he is forced to witness her moving on with her life, leaving behind their home, and himself embarks on a cosmic journey through memory & history, confronting life's meaning in the process.

Written & directed by David Lowery, the first half of the film brims with a very surreal & enigmatic quality while its premise is being established. Lowery takes a quiet, distinct & unhurried approach to capture each n every feeling but the interest fizzles out during the second half as it runs out of things to say and wanders aimlessly before coming together again to wrap itself up with a poof.

Camerawork is as inventive as it is exquisite, and beautifully photographs the unfolding events with its clever angles, smooth movements & excellent lighting, and effortlessly encapsulates the picture with a melancholic yet serene atmosphere. Editing isn't perfect throughout, for the second half has a few moments it could've either sped up or trimmed out. Sound, however, is expertly utilised and is perfectly in sync with its hypnotic score.

Coming to the acting department, A Ghost Story is steered by sincere inputs from Rooney Mara & Casey Affleck, and both of them play their part with restraint. Mara is definitely a highlight as she adds another fabulous performance to her résumé and convincingly portrays her character's grief & sense of loss. Affleck is under the white sheet for the most part yet is no slouch in the role, for even in his stillness, he manages to convey the right emotions.

On an overall scale, A Ghost Story gravitates more towards art-house filmmaking than mainstream entertainment, and is technically accomplished & rich in themes yet it isn't a film that will resonate with all. More than one viewing may be required to decipher all the layers beneath its surface but there is no denying that it is as ambitious as it is artful. However, when it ended, it didn't just leave me with a mixed feeling but also quite indifferent to all that unfolded on the screen.

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