A Ghost Story is a movie about grief, intimacy, and the metaphysical presence of loved ones after they are gone. I think.
David Lowery's fascinating (and confusing) movie stars Casey Affleck as "C" and Rooney Mara as "M," which sounds strange, but their character names truly do not matter because A Ghost Story is a movie about nothing. (Or is it about everything?! *insert thinking-face emoji here*)
No, it is about C, a ghost in a huge sheet, following around his ex-partner, M, after he dies in a tragic car accident, and watching her deal with her loneliness in the house they once shared together. There are approximately 279 words in the whole movie, and a major plot point has C, in his full white comforter, watching M eat an entire pie. Like, the whole fucking thing.
Let me be very, very clear: it is foul to watch. The actress sits down, in a puddle of sadness, and starts jamming a metal fork into the glass pie bowl, and eats her little heart out — crust, crumbs, juices, and all. There are no spit buckets or sly tricks to make it look like M is eating this entire chocolate (?!) cream (??) pie. You may be thinking: what is the big deal? People can eat what they want, and actors eat on-screen all the time. But guys... she eats this pie... for nine.... minutes... straight. That is 540 seconds of non-stop chomping, chewing, swallowing, and nearly vomiting.
There is simply no way any human should eat that much pie in one sitting! The volume of the scene is also on full blast — you hear every sniffle (she is crying while she eats), every gulp, every slurp, every time the fork tip hits the pie container. As you're watching, you know what's going to happen. We've all been sad, or drunk, or stoned, or depressed and stressed, and tried to fill the voids in life with food. And you know what happens? You throw it all up. And so did she. So not only do we get to see M shovel an entire chocolate cream (and apparently gluten-free) pie into her mouth for an eternity, but then we get to watch and hear her vomit it all up while C watches in his XXL sheet from the other side of the room.
The director told USA Today that this scene is the one he is "proudest of" in his career. But sitting there in the theatre at 11 AM watching Rooney Mara shovel forkfuls of a mediocre-looking pity pastry made me want to hurl. The scene was apparently buzz-worthy when audiences first saw the experimental dark comedy (is it a comedy? Yes, because C is a DJ-musician and at one point Kesha shows up?) back in January at Sundance and I believe it.
It still haunts me to this day.
A Ghost Story is in UK cinemas from today.
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