A glimpse at the promotional poster for A Ghost Story—Casey Affleck, clad in a white sheet with eye holes—suggests creepy horror. But there's little that's frightening in David Lowry's emotional exercise in magical realism. Instead, we're treated to fine performances from Affleck and critical darling Rooney Mara in a time-hopping story about a ghost and the house where he lived.

Affleck is behind that sheet, haunting his suburban home after his character dies in a car accident. His wife (Mara) moves through the house and tries to move on from the loss over days and weeks.

Time moves quickly. We get glimpses of a 19th-century prairie and a futuristic cityscape. It's introspective and head-scratching, thanks in part to a haunting soundtrack from solo violinist David Hart. Lowry has a well-developed eye for inventive storytelling thanks to his background in micro-budget shorts. His vision is on full display here, and the result is one of 2017's most powerful films.

CRITIC'S RATING: 4/4 stars

R. Cinema 21.