Ian Fastert’s review published on Letterboxd:
"A Ghost Story" has so many amazing qualities, so it's honestly amazing that I have to say the best part of A Ghost Story wasn't something controlled fully by the film itself; the best part of my viewing experience was the audience around me. The audience that didn't know what they were in for, the audience that had never seen anything like this. Multiple groups of people just walked out (mostly during the now infamous pie scene), everyone had one moment of nervous laughter, and no one, absolutely NO ONE was comfortable with what they were witnessing. The only other time I've been able to experience a film with this much uncomfortable tension was when I saw "The Lobster" last summer (same theater too, The Luna in Lowell, fantastic place for y'all who live in Massachusetts). However, when I saw The Lobster, I was with some of my friends, so I had someone to talk to about their experience.
I was alone, watching A Ghost Story.
Which kinda sums up my mood.
A Ghost Story happens to be an ode to loneliness, so I guess that worked out for me. A movie about clinging onto the past, a movie about obsessing over stuff that has long since stopped mattering to the people around you, a movie about time moving on without you, a movie that broke me. These are all things that describe A Ghost Story, and they're all woven together through a piece of film that at times engrossed me so much I felt out of my own body. That pie eating scene? It goes on for 4 minutes but I've never felt as inside of a movie as I did there. Seeing a ghost scratch at a wall for eternity made me feel so empty inside, because it just felt like it summed up...me. And my actions. And everyone's actions at one point in their life.
We're all just people in sheets scratching at walls.
Listen, I'm sorry. This year has been the big "Ian's year of making things explicitly about dealing with death about him getting dumped" with this and the album "A Crow Looked at Me" (which you should totally give a listen because it's a masterpiece of sadness), and that's obviously...not a good thing to be doing. It's insensitive, and stupid, and blowing a small thing wayyyyy out of proportion, but at the same time...I don't know, I need something to relate to, but obviously there are lots of other things out there that are explicitly about the depressions of love, but at the same time...I think it's that I don't think any of those are sad enough for me. Like I'm trying to find this catharsis in sadness through some form of media that just makes me bawl my eyes out or something, gives me some closure, or at least just gets every little bit of the pain out of me.
So when Rooney Mara does the same exact thing in this movie, I found myself feeling...less isolated from the world, at least for one moment.
(I'm gonna talk about the scene now so if you don't want to know about it skip this part)
So the first time a flashback is used in the film, we see Rooney being pissed off at Casey Affleck for not being able to make a decision on whether to move, and him telling her to listen to the song he had just made. And at first we're confused as to why this is the first flashback in the film, and then in the middle of the song it cuts to Rooney lying sprawled on the floor, listening to the song through her earbuds (the way the song changes between the timelines is beautiful; this film has easily the best soundtrack of the year and it might rank with some of the best I've ever heard). This is post-loss Rooney, and as the film cuts back between the two scenes, we see that she doesn't really like the song, and couple that with the original question you ask yourself of "why would she do that to herself? That'll make her a big sad!" and you've got your answer: she's trying to force something out. To purge herself of the pain that losing her loved one has caused her.
It broke me. I'm just an over-sensitive loser in the grand scheme of things. I've never lost ANYONE, let alone someone as close as a boyfriend or girlfriend, and yet I'M doing the same thing as this person who has gone through a pain I can't even imagine? And she gets over it enough to function later on anyway; I just go on wallowing, wallowing because I'm afraid of change, wallowing because people give you attention when you wallow. They don't give you that attention forever dumbass! Fuck off, Ian.
(end of scene talks)
Honestly........it burned me out so much, watching it, that I was genuinely shocked how much I wanted to rewatch it when it was over. It was painful, yes, but it was a proper adventure, and one I wanted to experience again. Every single shot in the movie is not only beautiful, but POWERFUL, showing off the wonder and pain in everything in life, and just taking you on the journey of a lifetime. The score is haunting, but it also emphasizes every single moment that it appears in. And when there isn't a score, sometimes it even more powerful; the use of noises, distant and close, quiet and in your face loud, is masterful. It's always used as the cherry atop the sadness sundae that are the scenes in this film; the repetition of the sounds, the quiet but noticeable background noises, everything comes together to make each scene more powerful than the last.
I felt transcended by A Ghost Story, and I can't wait to experience it again.
maybe that's just because of where I am right now though.
Will I feel different when I'm not as lonely? How will time age my opinion on this film? Will it become a time capsule for me; causing me pain when I attempt to watch it again for the memories it gives me, similar to what "La La Land" has become?
Do I have to worry about that now?
Maybe I just need to stop worrying. For once.
It's easier said than done, people.