In A Ghost Story, this revelation eventually leads the film to circle back to C’s life with M, movingly suggesting how eternity and the shadow of mortality can commingle with and haunt our everyday lives. But in getting there—in allowing us to feel the accumulated weight of years and human lives that the ghost witnesses—the film fosters in us a deep appreciation for the universe that makes such an odyssey possible. We feel what a privilege it would be to be afforded a glimpse of so many different facets of life and creation. Lowery’s work of fiction, sculpted out of time and projected on a movie screen, points us to the infinite.
For the Christian, of course, this means that the film points us to God. It seems fitting because God, too, is a witness—or perhaps it’s more proper to say he is the witness. If we believe that God sees everything that occurs on our planet and within our hearts, then a film that portrays both the vastness of time and the intimate specificity of individual lives would seem to offer a tiny glimpse of that God’s-eye perspective.
So to return to that the question from earlier—Why am I seeing all this?—the answer seems obvious: Who wouldn’t want to take on that perspective for just a couple of hours, to patiently observe and, in so doing, draw out hidden mysteries and beauty? A Ghost Story gives us the gift of adopting that gaze, if only temporarily. A fine gift it is.
Kevin McLenithan is a writer for Christ and Pop Culture who has also contributed to ThinkChristian and to the Chicago International Film Festival, and he currently co-hosts the film and television podcast Seeing and Believing. He works as a writer and editor in the Chicago area.