A Ghost Story (2017): Movie Review & Summary

Untrue to its name, A Ghost Story is not your typical horror film as seen by many of the recent ghost movies in theatres. The movie tells the story of a young couple, composer “C” and his wife “M.” The two are inexplicably tied to a house which “M” wishes to leave as soon as possible. A ghost attaches itself to them and follows them as all three grieve and morn together.

A Ghost Story

Telling It All While Not Telling It All

Director Nick Riganas expresses that the trailer of the movie tells everything while also telling the audience nothing at all. From the very first scene of the movie, a ghost dressed in the stereo-typical white sheet with hole-cut-outs for eyes is present and following the young couple around. The ghost consistently interacts with the couple throughout the trailer, standing over “C” while he works or even touching “M” while she lays and cries. But the cause of the ghost’s affection and attachment are as unknown as the reason the couple is grieving. Riganas describes what can be called the main theme song of the piece “Overwhelmed” as hinting to the emotional heaviness throughout the film.

Actors Casey Affleck as “C” and Rooney Mara as “M,” who had previously worked with the director being the perfect depth to his characters throughout this story which could be interpreted as both extremely dry and without an emotional capacity for anything but sadness and despair. What had critics raving is the director’s choice cover one of the most critically acclaimed actors of our time under the sheet for the entire movie.

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Taking from the famous A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf, Riganas creates a bookend plot that leaves a great deal open to interpretation. The stories theme hints at a new way of looking at the grieving process from the other side making the ghost character the center of the story and the two lead characters the ones being viewed. As the story progresses, the audience learns that there is unrest between the couple with which the phantom cannot assist. Eventually, “C” and “M” leave the house in their own time, while the phantom is left behind with the land and the house alone.

What makes this movie so powerful and true to Riganas’ intentions is the lack of any horror’esque qualities and special effects. Since the movie focuses on people and relationships from this world to the next, Riganas was left to walk a fine line of standard expectations of ghost films compared to this innovative story. To watch this movie for free, download ShowBox app to enjoy A Ghost Story without any ads or streaming issues. Although there are several points in the film that beg to have more ironic dark humor, Riganas avoids clichés and cheesy effects through his choice of shots and camera angles that bring a sense of reality to the scenes. The music in the film is the lifesaver helping the audience observe the weight of sadness while staying away from any inclinations that this can quickly turn into a horror/slasher film.

The film won several local awards including the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Deauville Film Festival. Only receiving a nomination for the Sundance Film Festival, perhaps the film seeks to give too detailed and eery look at the afterlife and what it means to truly leave those who we love behind.

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