top of page

Cinema & the Arts as Sermons: A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story
A Ghost Story

The Futility of Human Legacy

There is a thin line between life and death.

Physical life is our journey from birth to death and it passes in the blink of an eye, like a vapor. In light of eternity our lives are blips on the radar of creation.

God knows this as he watches all of us move quickly through our lives.

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” James 4:14

And oh how routinely we ignore this reality.

Whether we live to be 9 or 91 it’s a brief time. And for most of us the hourglass empties when we least expect it. Satan, the ruler of this world is very skilled at making us believe we have more time than we really do. It’s one of his best and greatest deceptions.

The reality is we can feel alive one minute with energy and motivation to work and engage the world around us but oblivious to the fact that for many of us tomorrow will be in the grave. Tomorrow is not promised.

We humans obsess about death and thats mostly what our daily news cycle is about. And many people also obsess about leaving a legacy behind that people will remember us by. This too is folly.

"A Ghost Story" is short on plot and long on mood and themes.

Casey Affleck is the Halloween like bed-sheeted Ghost and Rooney Mara is his wife, left to pick up the pieces after his death in a car accident. Ghost stories are stories of a wandering spirit.

As we perceive Ghosts (by their presence in the world) they are liminal beings or spirits. They seem to live between life and death, between existence and non-existence, between material and immaterial.

What we get from director Lowery’s decision to make his ghost a Charlie Brown-style ghost is that ghosts are anomolies. The ghost of the dead person is anonymous, depersonalized which allows us to look at the bigger picture. This ghost stands mutely at the fringes of the living world and appears helpless to interact.


Time in A Ghost Story is experienced by the characters objectively rather than subjectively. It is a thing with substance. Sometimes the ghost can sometimes pass through material things but the envirnoment exists outside of Ghost’s control with its own rules. Like us the ghost sees real-time, second by second where things unfold is uncut and as-it-happens. We see this in the 9-minute shot of Rooney Mara eating an entire pie. No dialogue, no cuts, no other action. Boring but necessary.

As the film progresses time becomes more fluid. The Ghost experiences his wife’s exit from the house wherein he discovers he must stay and haunt that space from occupant to occupant. We see the stars turn in the sky as the farther we get from the moment of Affleck’s death, time jumps ahead in greater increments.

Time turns back on itself and we experience and see the land on which the house will someday be built. Then we see a white migrant in the 1800s measuring off the shape of the first room. Then we see the moments before Affleck’s death and the ghost watching itself watching Mara’s grief as the time loop starts to repeat.

Reflecting on God

Our culture would have us believe that after we die we could wonder about aimlessly much like the ghost in this movie. But that is but fantasy.

New Age universalists default to saying that every thing in a universe created and sustained by an eternal, anonymous transcendence.

For those of us living out the day to day relationship with Christ and the Person of the Holy Spirit see the folly of our world.

Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27–28)

Your Best Legacy

The reality our culture refuses to accept is that eternal life is never gained by our efforts. Your legacy, no matter how spectacular will not save you on Judgment Day.

Your best legacy is obedience to Christ, love and forgiveness and sacrifice to those around your. Disciple someone and point them to Christ.

"A Ghost Story" should make you think and consider the breviety of your life and the urgency of your faith!

A Ghost Story | Official Trailer HD

Video from A24

"It's all about time. Watch the official trailer for A GHOST STORY, from writer/director David Lowery, starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck." from video introduction

Director David Lowery

Video from ADAMIcradio

"David Lowery (Pete's Dragon) talked to me about A Ghost Story, working with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, the film's ending, and that incredibly long pie scene." from video introduction

A ghost story - pie eating scene

"Watch the most controversial scene of" A GHOST STORY" film.

RELEASE DATE: July 7th, 2017 WRITER/DIRECTOR: David Lowery CAST: Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck" from video introduction

2 views0 comments


bottom of page