A Ghost Story

Year: 2017
Directed by: David Lowery
Starring: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, McColm Cephas Jr.

 

“What is it you like about this house so much,” asks M (Rooney Mara), insisting through her bemused expression that C (Casey Affleck) must respond. “History,” he says. They remain in disagreement. The ghost wanders through time, reflecting on past memories shared in their small countryside home. It’s a strange scene, and one that’s shot with the emotional sensitivity of a Spike Jonze movie, but it’s one of the only times that love and time were captured to such a moving degree.

The appropriately short A Ghost Story follows the life after death motif in the sudden death of M’s boyfriend, C. And the thing about death is that some things remain unresolved, if maybe a bit more mysterious than urgent. Death has been depicted and questioned in different ways, even though nobody *really* knows what it looks like. We don’t even know what it sounds like. Which is why David Lowery doesn’t attempt to answer those broken questions, rather, he grapples with what it means to be dead, a ghost.

The film begins with the loving couple flirting on their small living room couch as they cuddle under the romantic darkness of their isolated home. M notes the abrupt noises of the house often heard at nighttime, as she glances over at the mysterious white glow by the living room door. It’s ignored, as though some houses naturally live under a ghostly atmosphere, considering the deep history of each family that has come before.

M wants to leave in search of new opportunities in the city, but C is fixed on staying because of their valuable history. Unfortunately, M would have her way in the disturbing event of her husband’s death. What follows is a tragic tale of reconciliation between love and time. C is resurrected from his deathbed as a Ghost, invisible to the naked eye (not for the audience but the people in the film), and is burdened with the grief of losing someone who’s still alive.

Normally, there is nothing more tragic than losing a loved one to death, but A Ghost Story bravely asks whether the grief of watching someone move on is more destructive than having to move on from death itself. This is best demonstrated in one of the film’s most talked about scenes in which Rooney Mara eats an entire pie within a five-minute take. In the background, a tall and frail ghost watches from a distance as though its heart is ready to leap out in the hopes of comforting the once loving wife. Some hated the scene for its long duration – seemingly lacking purpose – but the strong effect is that of climaxing grief and hopelessness.

A Ghost Story is at its best when it exercises patience, examining small bouts of naturalistic grief in the form of emotionally nuanced performances. It all builds into one great moment half-way through the movie in which the music swells as M drives away from home. The film could end as of that moment and still receive the same review. What comes next is similar to that of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ in its provocative finale.

But really, A Ghost Story, even as it travels back in time, and portrays death to that of being a ghost, is a story about grieving the loss of a loved one and having to reflect on the relationship’s history. David Lowery has achieved what could only be described as a masterpiece, and one that explores love and time like no other film.

HUNTER’S RATING:

5

JUMPCUT’s Top 10 Films Of 2017

As we prepare for our annual award show, The Odysseys, we asked our wonderful team to list their top 10 films of 2017 and we’ve created the JUMPCUT Top 10 list based on their input. The votes were nail bitingly close, and there’s been plenty of discussion this year amongst the team!

You may recall that last year we posted up our ‘Top 10 Most Anticipated Films Of 2017‘, which featured the likes of ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Logan’, ‘Dunkirk’, and at the #1 spot was ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, and whilst appearing on some of our team’s personal Top 10 lists, did it make it onto our Top 10 of the year?

Just missing out out making our ultimate top 10 are the following honorable mentions:

and now, for the part you’ve most likely quickly scrolled past everything else for: JUMPCUT ONLINE‘S official top 10 films of 2017 are:


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#10 – IT

One of a number of adaptations of Stephen Kings work to grace a screen this year, ‘IT’ made a record breaking entry to the box office by more than doubling the record takings for a horror film’s opening weekend.¬†Bill Sk√•rsgard‚Äôs performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown is not one that’ll leave your nightmares any time soon. With the film arriving on home release shortly, we highly recommend taking Pennywise home with you!

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#9 – Wind River

Taylor Sheridan’s directorial debut was nothing short of heart racing. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen ditched their MCU costumes for something a little warmer as they investigate the death of a young girl in Wyoming, on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The investigation leaves the audience guessing right up until the third act, and when the truth hits it doesn’t pull it’s punches.

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#8 – Thor: Ragnarok

If a couple of years ago you’d have told us that a Thor film would end up our ‘Top 10’ of the year least, you’d forgive us for not believing you. Whilst the first two instalments of his solo outings are rather lacklustre and dreary, in comes Taiki Waititi to shake things up and deliver one of the best entries to the MCU to date. With lots of colour, humour, and a dash kiwi charm, Waititi left his mark all over the God of Thunder – as well as introducing us to everyone’s instant new favourite, Korg, who is played by Waititi.

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#7 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

‘The Last Jedi’ topped our list last year for most anticipated movie of 2017 and boy did we have a wait on our hands. Now it’s been released worldwide, the latest entry to the ‘Star Wars’ franchise has divided many fans on it’s approach to some of the characters and it’s plot. It’s fair to say that our team, which consists of a number of huge ‘Star Wars’ fans, had quite a bit to say on this film (in a pleasant, civilised, and GIF-happy manner might we add)¬†and it may actually come as a surprise to some of them that it made our list!

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#6 – Baby Driver

If the toe-tappingly catchy and action filled trailers weren’t enough to get you to see Edgar Wright’s ‘Baby Driver’ in the cinema, then we sure hope you’ve corrected your mistake and watched it since it’s home release following it’s wave of praise online. Not only is the film insanely brilliant, the soundtrack ain’t half bad either.

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#5 – La La Land

The UK started the new year hearing nothing but praise for ‘La La Land’. The U.S theatrical release date was in December, whilst we had to twiddle our thumbs and wait¬† here in the UK until the following month. By the time it was released, it had already won a jaw-dropping amount of awards and was also in the running for a number of Academy Awards, including ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Film’ (let’s not get into that).¬†11 months later and the film still sits highly on the top of a lot of our team’s list, and we daren’t tally up how many times we’ve all watched it since!

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#4 – Get Out

With a production budget of just $4.5 million, ‘Get Out’ broke records and all expectations when it grossed over $251 million worldwide during it’s run in cinemas. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was greatly received and is arguably one of the most talked about films of the year. Daniel Kaluuya has received numerous nominations and awards as the lead of the film, and rightly so. Another one we recommend ticking off your list before the year is out!

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#3 – Logan

James Mangold stepped back into the director’s chair to direct another Wolverine solo film, but this time the claws were well and truly out for his R-Rated return. ‘Logan’ showed us Wolverine like we’ve never scene him on screen before. The neo-western take on Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Logan was a perfect send off for the actor and the character, as well as a superb introduction to Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney (aka X-23).¬†‘Logan’ proved to be an emotional farewell, but also left us with a glimmer of hope that we could potentially see X-23 in her own film in the future.

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#2 – Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s latest film was hyped up to no end that some of us were certain our expectations were too high and would never be met. Those doubts were quashed upon viewing the film (numerous times for some of the team)¬†and although the story, told from three perspectives (land, sea, and air), had very little dialogue, the way in which is was shot, and the perfect accompanying score, were enough to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.

Sometimes I still hear the ticking….¬†

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#1 – Blade Runner 2049

Aaaaand if you hadn’t guessed by now – Denis Villeneuve’s¬†neo-noir sci-fi masterpiece ‘Blade Runner 2049’ sits at number one for this year’s list. With some breathtakingly beautiful cinematography and set pieces, an ear-pleasingly gorgeous score, and strong performances from Ryan Gosling, Ana De Armas, Ryan Gosling, and the rest of the supporting case, there was nothing we didn’t love about this film – although unfortunately it appears that the general audience may disagree with us as it didn’t perform all too well at the box office!

 


There you have it! ‘Blade Runner 2049’ claims the #1 spot this year for us here at JUMPCUT. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this list and what your Top 10 looks like!

In case you missed it, we also wrote up our ‘Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2018‘ – We wonder if any of those will feature in our end of year top 10 next year….

Feel free to leave a comment below, or tweet us your Top 10 to @JUMPCUT_ONLINE 

The Odysseys 2017: 2017 Retrospective

As we begin to get things underway for our annual awards event, The Odysseys, we’ve created a little something to remind you of just some of the films to grace our cinema screens this year, and also a possible look at films you’ll likely see mentioned in this year’s awards show.

Please feel free to share, leave feedback, and enjoy our 2017 retrospective!

More details about The Odysseys, including public nominations and upload date, will be available soon…¬†

NBR Award Winners Announced

The annual National Board of Reviews awards were announced earlier this evening.¬†Steven Spielberg‚Äôs¬† ‘The Post’ claimed the top prizes, including ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Actor’, and ‘Best Actress’. Greta Gerwig was awarded the ‘Best Director’ award for her directorial debut, ‘Lady Bird’.

Other NBR winners include Willem Dafoe for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in Sean Baker’s ‘The Florida Project’, Jordan Peele won ‘Best Directorial Debut’ for ‘Get Out’, which also won ‘Best Ensemble’. ‘Coco’ took home the prize for ‘Best Animated Feature’ and¬†Timoth√©e Chalamet wins yet another ‘Breakthrough Performance’ award for his role in ‘Call Me By Your Name’

Full list of winners:

Best Film: The Post
Best Director: Greta Gerwig – (Lady Bird)
Best Actor: Tom Hanks (The Post)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (The Post)
Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Best Foreign Language Film: Foxtrot
Best Animated Feature: Coco
Best Documentary: Jane
Best Original Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber (The Disaster Artist)
Best Directorial Debut: Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Best Ensemble: Get Out
Breakthrough Performance: Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)
Spotlight Award: Patty Jenkins & Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)
NBR Freedom of Expression: First They Killed My Father

Top Films: Baby Driver, Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist,  Downsizing,  Dunkirk,  The Florida Project,  Get Out,  Lady Bird,  Logan,  Phantom Thread

Top 10 Independent Films: Beatriz at Dinner,  Brigsby Bear,  A Ghost Story,  Lady Macbeth,  Logan Lucky,  Loving Vincent,  Menashe  Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,  Patti Cake$,  Wind River

Top 5 Foreign Language Films: A Fantastic Woman,  Frantz,  Loveless,  Summer 1993,  The Square

Top 5 Documentaries: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail , Brimstone & Glory,  Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars,  Faces Places,  Hell On Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS