‘ A Ghost Story’ – A Frustrating Chore of a Film

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An insultingly pretentious film that should only be 20 minutes but due to arrogance is stretched out for 92 minutes
1.5


We’ll be blunt: You’re not going to like A Ghost Story. Don’t waste your time or money on this film. It’s not made for you. David Lowery’s film falls into the same category as It Comes At Night. It’s not made for audiences to go and be entertained. Rather its made to give pretentious critics the opportunity to use a lot of words to heap praise on a ridiculous and boring movie.

A Ghost Story reminds me of those jokes about pretentious people in an art gallery looking at a stain on a wall and trying to one-up each other with what the “stain” really means. Then in walks a janitor with a rag and wipes away the stain saying “its not a piece of art, it was just throw up from a kid who walked by earlier”.

There’s nothing wrong with directors and cinematographers making movies that highlight certain artistic forms or allow them to “get weird” without feeling pressure to appeal to a broad base. But those experiments really don’t belong in the theater. Films like this are like tech demos video game studios make to show off cool new graphics. They have a specific technical purpose but everyone knows they lack the meat and potatoes to be actual games. That’s what A Ghost Story is. As a technical film making exercise, there can be some artistic quality to this that can spark conversations among film makers over techniques. But as a film for audience consumption, it’s insulting. Despite what some critics will have you think, there's nothing intriguing, thoughtful, intense about watching Rooney Mara eat an entire pie on the floor for 5 minutes while a man in a  sheet watches. It’s a child’s boogers smeared on the wall of an art gallery that people are trying to convince themselves is art.

The overall concept of this film is better suited for a short 10 minute film, not 92 minutes of mostly silence where you're stuck watching scenes where absolutely nothing happens. Yes, the film is about the enormity of time and how we conceptualize that. Yes, its an interesting concept to think about life/death/time from the perspective of a ghost/spirit and what that means. But execution matters here. Too many times film makers get caught up in their high level concepts or the technical accomplishments and forget about the simple purpose of: Will anyone want to actually watch this?

And for A Ghost Story? The answer is simple: No.

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