'A Ghost Story' covers the sheets
Amazingly, A Ghost Story works. It manages to be a little funny, a whole lot meaningful, and strikingly unpredictable. It's not like any ghost movie before -- it does not dwell on the scary although crockery is thrown to smithereens and lightbulbs do flicker -- as it explores mourning thoughtfully.
David Lowery directed the film with an artsy component. Rather than going high-tech, his ectoplasm is shrouded in a sheet, a long, white, voluminous sheet with childish eye-holes. The sheet has no name although it covers the male in the movie, a musician. The man caressed his wife, argued with her about moving, and had a car accident.
His widow, also unnamed, lives with his ghost for awhile, aware that someone else is in their rental house in the middle of nothing much. While sprucing up the house, Wife inserts a message into a door jamb before painting the opening closed. Sheet sees this and spends time trying to get at the message.
Ditto for movie goers trying to get at the message of A Ghost Story. If that is not immediately getable, there is plenty else to occupy the post-mortem period. Note, for example, how often Andrew Droz' cameras are locked down while characters move in and out of range or curtains breeze in. See, too, how the camera serves as our ghost. Listen to Daniel Hart's telegraphic music. Hear, too, how rarely dialogue comes along and, when it does, how mumbly it is.
The one time when words are spoken with force comes at a dinner party when a character, called the Prognosticator in the cast list and played by Will Oldham, waxes eloquently. The main characters are played by Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, who worked for director David Lowery before in Ain't Them Bodies Saints. A Ghost Story offers a new take on old themes of death and life and comes full circle.