A Ghost Story, review

Having a mainstream actor on screen whose face you only see for around 20 minutes during a 90 minute film sounds pretty jarring. Then when you mix that with the fact that his face is obscured by a white sheet as he plays a ghost of his former self, it’s borderline ludicrous. It’s a film that shouldn’t work, that shouldn’t make you feel, that you should be laughing at. However, thanks to the embracing performances, lingering camera shots and sparing use of dialogue, this is a film that makes you think about love, loss, acceptance and grief in a profoundly deep and moving way.

It’s no spoiler to say that around 10 minutes into the film, Casey Affleck’s character dies, leaving Rooney Mara to grieve. It cuts to Mara looking at Affleck’s body covered in a white sheet in a hospital. A long and looming shot of the room after Mara leaves shows Affleck’s ghost get up and walk around, eye holes have already been provided. From here he walks around the hospital and eventually makes his way back to their home where he is unable to leave. His interactions are only with that of another entity next door. The way the camera looks at a room, or a person, it’s examining all after affects of death and how it much it hits you.

He looks over the bereft Mara as she slowly begins to move on and live her life, up until the moment she leaves. It’s soon after we realise that he’s stuck in this house for some reason. The film only briefly slips into poltergeist territory when a Mexican family moves into the house and he disrupts their home. During a significant course of time, different people are shown to be living here, inhabiting what Affleck clearly still feels is his space.

There are consistent leering shots, all of which appear to be looking to a person in greater detail than we see. One in particular sticks with you in which Rooney Mara sits Whilst at the same time asking yourself, what kind of pie is that? Is it chocolate? Is it pumpkin? Maybe it’s savoury? How many takes did Rooney have to do? How many pie did she eat? WHAT FLAVOUR IS THE PIE?

The pair are never named in the film, they are never given a chance to address each other in such a way but their relationship transcends words and becomes more complex through gestures, looks and movements. It becomes a comment on how love and loss can both be expressed in similar ways; with looks and not words, with gestures, with unshared thoughts.

With it’s subtle and haunting score, nuanced performances and steering mostly clear of the paranormal route, this is a haunting experience that will stay with you for a long time.

4 out of 5.

Keep. It. Reel.

 

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BAFTA 2017: Full List of Winners

The 70th BAFTA Awards took place last night and amongst all of the red carpet action, trophies and glamour, there was an underlying political and social theme. Stephen Fry’s shots at the Trump administration, Southern Rail and Danny Dyer were all accurate and entertaining. Starting off with his grandmother’s saying “cop a load of this, bitches” and continued by referring to a recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are, and claimed that Prince William will be “devastated after finding out he’s related to Danny Dyer”. But I think that my favourite was during one of his take downs of Trumps, as his quipped “One of the greatest actresses of all time, only a blithering idiot would think otherwise, Meryl Streep.” Brilliant. You can see more of Stephen Fry’s jokes here.

During the ceremony, La La Land was the most successful, winning five awards, including Best Director, Best Film and Best Actress, making it even more of a front runner than before to sweep up at the Oscars. Other winners include Dev Patel for Best Supporting Actor, Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress and Kubo and the Two Strings for Best Animated Feature, beating two Disney films.

Not too many surprises altogether this year however I didn’t quite get all of my predictions correct unfortunately. Here were mine for last night, getting four out of six, which isn’t that bad! Anyway, we’ll see if I can improve upon my guesses for the Oscars. Here’s the list of winners in full.

awards

Outstanding British film

American Honey

Denial

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

WINNER: I, Daniel Blake

Notes on Blindness

Under the Shadow

4-i-daniel-blake

Rising Star award

Anya Taylor-Joy

Laia Costa

Lucas Hedges

Ruth Negga

WINNER: Tom Holland

Best Make Up & Hair

Doctor Strange

WINNER: Florence Foster Jenkins

Hacksaw Ridge

Nocturnal Animals

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 

Best Original Music

Arrival

Jackie

WINNER: La La Land

Lion

Nocturnal Animals

Best Costume Design

Allied

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins

WINNER: Jackie

La La Land

jackie

Best Sound

WINNER: Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

1-arrival

Best British Short Animation

The Alan Dimension

WINNER: A Love Story

Tough

 

Best British Short Film

Consumed

WINNER: Home

Mouth of Hell

The Party

Standby

 

Best Editing

Arrival

WINNER: Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

Nocturnal Animals

hacksawridge_cliprescue

Best Production Design

Doctor Strange

WINNER: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land

Nocturnal Animals

 

Best Documentary

WINNER: 13th

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years

The Eagle Huntress

Notes on Blindness

Weiner

13th-netflix-documentary-trailer3

Best Film Not in the English Language

Dheepan

Julieta

Mustang

WINNER: Son of Saul

Toni Erdmann

son-of-saul

Best Adapted Screenplay

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

Hidden Figures

WINNER: Lion

Nocturnal Animals

 

Best Supporting Actress

Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake)

Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Nicole Kidman (Lion)

WINNER: Viola Davis (Fences)

2382

Best Animated Film

Finding Dory

WINNER: Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

Zootropolis

2-kubo

Best Special Visual Effects

Arrival

Doctor Strange

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

WINNER: The Jungle Book

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 

Best Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer

The Girl With All the Gifts – Mike Carey (writer), Camille Gatin (producer)

The Hard Stop – George Amponsah (writer/director/producer), Dionne Walker (writer/producer)

Notes on Blindness – Peter Middleton (writer/director/producer), James Spinney (writer/director), Jo-Jo Ellison (producer)

The Pass – John Donnelly (writer), Ben A Williams (director)

WINNER: Under the Shadow – Babak Anvari (writer/director), Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh (producers)

 

Best Supporting Actor

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

WINNER: Dev Patel (Lion)

Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Outstanding British contribution to cinema

Curzon Cinemas

curzon

Best Original Screenplay

Hell or High Water

I, Daniel Blake

La La Land

WINNER: Manchester By the Sea

Moonlight

MBTS_3869.CR2

MBTS_3869.CR2

Best Cinematography

Arrival

Hell or High Water

WINNER: La La Land

Lion

Nocturnal Animals

 

Best Actor

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

WINNER: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

 

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake)

WINNER: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By the Sea)

Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals)

damien-chazelle

Best Actress

Amy Adams (Arrival)

Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train)

WINNER: Emma Stone (La La Land)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

emma-stone

Best Film

Arrival

I, Daniel Blake

WINNER: La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

la-la-land

Bafta fellowship

Mel Brooks

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Keep. It. Reel.