Generation Z, Go Watch “A Ghost Story”

Article by Momo Horii, Writer

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Famous directors are often predictable. With Martin Scorsese, we expect macho posturing films or sweet coming-of-age movies about a lanky boy. Turn to Quentin Tarantino for the nonlinear storylines, quick-paced action sequences, and violent depictions of American pop culture.

In the case of David Lowery, you don’t know what to expect. However, one thing is certain: you’re getting yourself into a comfortably sad experience. The storyline can vary, but you will leave the film feeling aged. This is the case for Lowery’s 2017 indie film, A Ghost Story.

At just age thirty-six, Lowery managed to successfully capture the essence of time in a fashion that feels organic. At times, it can feel almost too artsy as he tests the limit of the audience’s attention span. In one scene, for instance, you’re forced to watch a woman eat an entire pie for about five minutes — you feel like an intruder, a Peeping Tom, forced to watch a vulnerable episode of her life. Lowery toys with our anticipation of a traditional film. 

Why Watch “A Ghost Story”?

It’s not one particular scene that makes this film worth watching. It’s to flex your patience, and then come to the conclusion that it’s a great film that makes it worth watching. This may sound cryptic, but it’s important to note that this film demands a measure of self-control that may be lacking in our generation. 

Insider Intelligence mentions that the average Gen Z received their first iPhone “just before their twelfth birthday.” With TikTok and Instagram reels, it feels as though the people from this generation have been limited to an attention span of ten seconds. 

Certainly Lowery didn’t intend for his target audience to only be Gen Zers; however, this film might be more meaningful to teenagers because of its particular challenges as a mind-bending movie. 

A Ghost Story is not scary.

It’s not often you see a movie with the word “ghost” in its title that has no characteristics of the horror genre. In A Ghost Story, the ghost looks like a classic kid’s Halloween costume—a white sheet with two holes cut out for the eyes—which enhances the narrative of the ghost’s spooky existence.  

The psychological simplicity of the film is the real hook and the reason why viewers stay with these dynamic characters. The main characters are archetypal and have only initials as names. M, played by Rooney Mara, experiences grief as her husband dies within the first few scenes of the film. At first, the story is slow-paced, and this emphasizes the timeline of grief and depression. 

Midway into the film is an incredible monologue that is unforgettably charming to listen to, cutting through the silence of the film. From there, the film’s dream-like pace picks up. The monologue takes place at a party, and this is one reason why A Ghost Story is so original, combining old and new techniques of scriptwriting and directing.

Lowry’s latest film, The Green Knight also has a pace that tests the audience’s patience. However, the aesthetic choices are unlike A Ghost Story as his recent film includes unexpected and subtle shifts. This movie is recommended to anyone—not just Gen Zers—who craves a break from flashy films and or a distraction from other media. The Ghost Story will make you more observant of the life you live.