A GHOST STORY – Sundance Review

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Terrence Malick meets Manchester by the Sea

Time is more than just the movie’s backbone, the main character in A Ghost Story is neither mortal nor ghost, it is the passage of time and the director David Lowery yields a clear position about that halfway in. The ghost serves as our comic voyager and this house the couple bought together to begin their new lease on life as a functional time machine exploring life’s biggest and most difficult questions, containing transcendental ideas and themes such as mortality, hope, loss, meaning, abandonment and legacy. It is also structured unlike any film I have seen before. While slow and serene, think of it as a Terrence Malick movie without the frequent and fractured cuts to explore the psychological complexities and collective consciousness of its characters. It takes these recurrent bold narrative risks, that on paper shouldn’t work, such as a sudden narrative interruption during an extended party sequence that feels tonally straight from another movie, but a swift and effective monologue delivered by seemingly arbitrary character dictating on the crisis of faith and our ever-changing world that hovers our impulsive judgment with symbolic certitude. In the end, A Ghost Story is quietly earnest, beautiful, lyrical and unexpected as nature and time itself. [A]

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