Surreal ‘A Ghost Story’ is a ponderous, quirky and visual feast

Bret Curry, A24

Roony Mara and Casey Affleck in “A Ghost Story.”

“A GHOST STORY” — 3½ stars — Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Kenneisha Thompson, Liz Franke, Barlow Jacobs; R (brief language and a disturbing image); Broadway

The title of director David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story” is about as concise a description as you’re going to find for a surreal and beautiful film that explores a kaleidoscope of themes and issues.

In essence, the film is about a young musician named C (Casey Affleck) who lingers at his rural home as a ghost long after a car crash takes his life. As the film opens, C and his wife, M (Rooney Mara), are living a quiet life in an aging Midwestern rambler. They are very much in love, though there is some tension in their relationship that isn’t explored until later in the film.

The home doesn’t look much like a haunted house, but a couple of eerie quotes that lead the movie set the tone for a late-night disturbance when C and M hear an unexplained banging noise from the upright piano that predated their arrival.

Soon after, C is killed in a car crash. In the morgue, he rises from his bed, still draped in the long white sheet that covered his body. A glowing portal briefly appears, but C doesn’t enter. Instead, he makes his way back to his home — still covered in the sheet — where M is making her way through the grieving process.

From here, “A Ghost Story” shifts into observation and contemplation mode as C — invisible to everyone around him — peers out of mournful blacked-out eye holes at…

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