Review / ‘A Ghost Story’ (M) ***

Share Canberra's trusted news:

FILMMAKER David Lowery’s film rather defies the conventions of the ghost genre. It spends a lot of time doing nothing, saying nothing. When it does resort to spoken words, they are few in number except for a mid-film homily about the intransigence of life, the deniability of religion and the ability of mankind to do itself great harm for unconvincing reasons.

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play C and M, about to move from an outer-suburban bungalow to a metropolitan apartment. But C dies in a car accident. After M farewells him as he lies on the mortuary slab, she covers his head with the sheet.

C’s ghost is in no hurry to get moving. It would be a mistake for a film audience to laugh at Lowery’s selection from the cinematic conventions available to guide directors in displaying a ghost’s departure from the body. But it is visually amusing.

The ghost returns to the house. M moves out. New owners arrive. In time, M’s ghost appears but the two shroud-covered ectoplasms remain forever apart. The film observes the wanderings of C. In a future era, C observes urban sprawl on the site of the now demolished house and building a high-rise office block, jumping from the roof of which he tries unsuccessfully to end his grief and loneliness. The location reverts to the arrival of the first settlers to establish a homestead that native Americans shortly wipe out and finally to C and M living in the original building. In a ghost story, such shifts of time and place are feasible.

The film’s reported budget was $US100,000. After seeing it in an otherwise empty cinema, I came away feeling it had challenged my emotions at a level that fulfilled Lowery’s intentions quite effectively.

At Palace Electric

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous articlePolice renew search for Benjamin
Next articleArts / Weave an end to violence
Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

Leave a Reply