A Ghost Story

Watch A Ghost Story

  • R
  • 2017
  • 1 hr 27 min
  • 6.8  (76,631)
  • 84

A Ghost Story is a poignant and peculiar examination of love, grief, and the passage of time, all through the eyes of an unseen and unnamed spirit. The film begins with a lengthy shot of Casey Affleck's character, a musician only known as "C," and his wife "M," played by Rooney Mara. Their contented life in a modest, suburban Texas home is interrupted by a tragic accident that takes C's life, leaving M to grapple with her loss.

From here, the story transitions into a meditative exploration of what it means to leave a mark on the world and the people you love. Suddenly, C returns as a ghost, clad in a white sheet with cut-out holes for eyes. The rest of the film watches as this ghost, which can't speak or interact, moves through time and space, trying to make sense of what has happened to him and what is still happening in the world he once inhabited.

The first thing one notices about A Ghost Story is the unusual visual language employed by director David Lowery. The film uses a boxy, 4:3 aspect ratio and hazy, grainy film stock to give it a dreamlike, timeless quality. Camera movements are slow and deliberate, with many scenes consisting of long, uninterrupted takes. Lowery also uses a mixture of practical and digital effects to achieve the uncanny sight of a ghost shrouded in a sheet. These flourishes help to ground the film in a magical, otherworldly realm while still keeping it tethered to the reality of its characters and setting.

As C's ghost wanders through time, he bears witness to various moments in his home's history. He sees the new occupants come and go, experiences small moments of joy and heartache, and even journeys through space and time to witness inciting incidents throughout history. Through these vignettes, the film examines how people try to create meaning in their lives and how those attempts are often overridden by the indifferent march of time. Though it can be a somber experience, A Ghost Story is always thought-provoking and never preachy.

The film is anchored by dedicated performances from its leads. Casey Affleck, despite spending the majority of the film beneath a sheet and without any lines of dialogue, conveys a deep sense of longing and loss through his physicality alone. Rooney Mara likewise imbues her moments with M with a raw vulnerability that captures the wide range of emotions one experiences after a major loss. Other actors in smaller roles (like musician Will Oldham as a philosophical party guest) also make memorable lines.

It's certainly possible that A Ghost Story will not be for everyone. Its meditative pace and abstract themes may not sit well with those looking for a straightforward plot or traditional scares. However, for those who are open to its unique approach, the film is a hauntingly beautiful examination of the human experience and our connection to the world around us, even after we've left it.

A Ghost Story is a 2017 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 84.

A Ghost Story
Where to Watch A Ghost Story
A Ghost Story is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, FuboTV, Showtime, The Roku Channel, Showtime Anytime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent A Ghost Story for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 27 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (76,631)
  • Metascore