01 Sep Acknowledging A Spiritual Dimension
After watching the much acclaimed A Ghost Story from the American film maker, David Lowery, I was intrigued to read the mostly positive reviews by several respected national newspapers. The audience in my screening even went so far as to applaud the film.
One of the reasons I feel it is such a hit is because it raises profound spiritual questions – making the audience consider if there is an afterlife.
I have taught for more than 30 years in addition to being a freelance writer. During one Religious Studies lesson I once asked a group of 12-year-olds if they had ever considered if there was a God or not. Eighty percent of the class admitted that it had never entered their head to consider this question before.
Which just goes to prove my point. People are very aware of their physical dimensions – and who couldn’t be with all our retail outlets, keep fit regimes, beauty products and fashion consciousness.
Busy lives and social media are so all-consuming today that we are left with little if no reflection time. There is no space for quiet, calm contemplation in our lives and hence no time to disentangle the knot.
It is into this void that A Ghost Story makes its appearance. There is little dialogue or action in the film, with the camera hovering above certain scenes – such as a pie eating session and the starring couple lying on their pillows – with very little immediately discernible activity going on around them. The action is in the minds of the audience who are compelled to think and consider.
It becomes apparent that the only thing the ghost has retained from this world is love – which is obviously a huge reflection of the Christian message that love never dies.
I have long thought that most people have little time to consider what fate awaits them when their time in this world is up. Church services provide an insight into this question but the loss of Sunday as a special day in the week – in my view it has literally been ripped away from us – has made it even harder to consider these questions. Today there are so many attractions and distractions to ensnare us.
Our attitude towards death is not talked about in the same way – although perhaps for different reasons – the Victorians did not talk about sex.
The effect of the film is to encourage viewers to be more pensive amid the hectic whirlwind of modern life. It feels strangely therapeutic to just sit in the darkness of the cinema and think about grief and love and the after-life.
The movie makes us consider what we don’t understand. I pray that the people who have had a spiritual awakening after considering some of the issues which it raises will discover the truth as outlined in Romans 1:20 – that since the beginning of time God has been evident through His creation.
The most impressive thing about A Ghost Story is the time it gives us to consider these truths. Sitting in a darkened cinema watching the silent parts of the movie – with its concomitant powerful music – a viewer can stumble upon precious thinking time. That is an all too valuable commodity that many people are starved of in our frenzied 21st century existence. It may also perhaps explain why A Ghost Story is likely to enjoy enduring popularity.
What do you think?
Angela Hindle is a freelance writer and author. Her latest book, “Am I Crazy? ” is about a teenage boy with ADHD, told in the first person as he travels through high school. Available on Amazon.