Penetrating the Interminable Mystery Of ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

2018 has already had a good share of foreign films, when you put Zama and Fantastic Woman (which won Best Foreign Film at the 2018 Oscars) in the mix. It was exciting to see that a French foreign film was coming to theatres as I knew it would have an interesting plot and involve a person named Pierre as all french films inevitably have.

Ismael’s Ghosts ended up becoming very confusing very fast. It was simple, at first, seemingly about a woman named Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her boyfriend of two years, Ismael (Mathieu Amalric), who have to recover from a strange turn of events as Ismael’s presumed dead wife Corletta (Marion Cotillard) shows up at an unexpected time.

The acting was slightly better than mediocre. The actors and actresses were new to me, for the most part. Amalric was previously in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Munich, and Quantum of Solace. Cotillard is a one-time academy award winning actress for La Vie en Rose and also appeared in Inception.

As for the plot, it’s complexity develops into something significantly more mysterious, intense, and confusing. This included a story about Ismael as a director and his movie which ends up being part of the twist at the end. At least, I think it was. It got so complicated at the end that I couldn’t tell if it was a twist or something I was just missing the whole time.

Overall, Ismael’s Ghosts was a fine movie. It was confusing beyond confusing but that was its biggest flaw. Make sure you’re ready, though, because it’s the longest 2 hour and 15 minute film you’ll ever watch. As in, it will feel like you’ve been there for a full year before you leave.


My Rating: 74%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3.3/4

Story: 2.8/4

Enjoyability: 2.8/4

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