A Ghost Story (2017)

"Words fail A Ghost Story; silence saves it." - Daniel Nava

I am about 80% on board with everything that takes place in this movie. However, my main reservation comes courtesy of Will Oldham and you'll know the moment when you see it. If this were Harry Dean Stanton showing up to say the same dialogue in this movie, I would still roll my eyes. In LUCKY, that's a film that establishes itself as both contemplative and dialogue-driven courtesy of the atheistic, caustic protaganist. With A GHOST STORY, it is mostly meditative, haunting and truly mesmerizing. There are stretches without words, and I love the choice to focus on visual language first and foremost. Then it takes a bit of a turn after a particular character leaves. It does come full circle, and manages to be subtly moving rather than sentimental. Which I appreciated immensely. The final moments are a tad predictable, but from the heart and that's why I go to the movies. A GHOST STORY is a movie where I cried on the inside, which isn't a bad experience by any stretch. But when the film chooses to externalize its ideas and themes in a didatic manner, I felt taken out of the trance. I may have even felt a little perturbed for a short stretch, until C experiences the past in an observational manner that the film set up beautifully early on.

Honestly, what's funny is that I have given all of Lowery's work 4/5, including last year's PETE DRAGON, which I thought had more highs than lows with an emotional payoff that felt satisfying. Something about the overall execution here leaves me hungry for more, despite not being sure exactly what I would like the meal to be. I adored the score, aspect ratio, and certainly the way the film depicts the passage of time. However, it's a far cry from the masterpiece that I kept hearing about and I have some questions. Again, I'm certain a rewatch and talking more about the film once more people see it might help. Then again, maybe this is just another case of "Really liking a movie and wishing I could love it as much as everyone else."   B+

James Laczkowski