Forget everything I ever said about Personal Shopper
, A Ghost Story is the depiction of harrowing torment in an eternal abyss of obscurity that you always wanted. Assuming that you always wanted it.
Filmmaker David Lowery's intimate tale about a ghost confronting existence after death is an exquisite, heartbreaking, deep dive into Purgatory; a meditation on the very nature of life, limbo and lamentation. And Christ, it’s a thinker.
Which is, of course, exactly as it should be. In depicting an afterlife POV, this ghost’s story addresses the universal question from a practical standpoint, and in doing so deliberately begs more questions. Basically, anyone who comes away from this film without considering a humbling, new perspective on their tiny place in this metaphysical cosmos didn’t deserve the tub of pic ‘n’ mix they enjoyed throughout it all.
Personally, it set my mind racing, forcing me to flex my philosophical mind muscles in a way that hasn’t happened since that one time my watch stopped as I was literally looking right at it
. To give you some idea, here are some of the core-shaking questions I was asking myself while watching a film that has the profoundest pie-eating scene you’ll ever see:
What exactly is eternal listless ennui like? Is it similar to the feeling you get when watching the final act in any Transformers movie?
If all of time is a baseless construct invented to create order from chaos and death transcends such primitive structures, will I be able to spend the immediate afterlife watching the next five Fast And Furious films?
After death, will I come in to contact with friends and family who have also 'passed over'? Will I be able to catch them up on all the Netflix shows they’ve missed?
Or is it the case that, in death, all that exists, has ever existed and will ever exist is all instantly knowable simultaneously? In which case, what would we talk about?
How do you truly measure a life? In the number of years you lived? In your duration in others' memories? Or in the number of films from IMDB's Top 250 list that you have actually seen?
Which of my hilariously self-aware and irreverent blog posts will be remembered as my legacy?
How can I make sure that someone deletes that vaguely offensive one I once wrote about Mark Wahlberg's face?
Star Wars will almost definitely outlive me. This means that there will one day be a Star Wars film released that I will never get to see. That really bums me out. Also, my kids.
Are there ghosts haunting this cinema right now? If so, am I already in someone's seat?
As an incorporeal soul tethered to Earth for all of eternity, would I forever mourn the loss of human interaction or I would I immediately understand a larger cosmic picture and just begin a new existence as a passive observer without remorse?
If that's the case, would I be able to, like, see people in the shower, and, like, doing it, and stuff?
If true enlightenment is only achieved through personal epiphany, what will mine be? Will it have anything to do with the definitive ranking of Marvel movies, because I still don't think anyone else has quite got that right yet.
I could die right now and the last piece of movie news I would have read is that "Ben Affleck may or may not be in The Batman and that his Batman may or may not be a different kind of Batman in Justice League than in Batman v Superman"
Come to think of it, my last ever tweet was a joke about pickled onion flavour Monster Munch and that will always remain at the top of my twitter profile forever.
Wait, if I died right now, would my ghost continue to watch A Ghost Story? What would he make of it?
Might he be able to summon enough spectral energy to break through the veil and at least write a blog post about it?
Is that... is that what's happening right now?
Oh god, am I dead?
Does that mean I'll never get to find out if Ben Affleck will be in The Batman?