Ghostlight SXSW Review

March 14, 202480/1006 min
Keith Kupferer, Katherine Mallen Kupferer, Tara Mallen, Dolly De Leon
Written by
Kelly O' Sullivan
Directed by
Kelly O' Sullivan and Alex Thompson
Run Time
1h 50min
Overall Score
Rating Summary

          Sometimes it is easy to forget how powerful stories can be, especially ones you have heard told many times before. The reason why stories have that power is usually based on where they come from as art often imitates life. I have always loved movies, and while mostly it is for appreciation and entertainment, sometimes a movie just penetrates my being. It does so because the story is speaking to me in a way that mirrors similar things that have happened in my own life. Kelly O’ Sullivan and Alex Thompson’s new film Ghostlight tells the story of how one man finds that a local play mirrors his own life.

Dan (Keith Kupferer) is not someone you would notice unless you were in a hurry to get somewhere, as he is a construction worker who repairs roads. When we meet Dan, he doesn’t seem to be enjoying any facets of his life. His daughter Daisy (Katherine Mallen Kupferer) is on the verge of getting expelled from school, and his marriage to his wife Sharon (Tara Mallen) looks to be falling apart. It is hard to see how Dan is processing this, as he is not a man who shows his feelings, other than outbursts of anger. While at his current work site, he sees a group of people who seem to be doing some strange exercises. One of those people, Rota (Dolly De Leon), approaches him and invites him to come inside. Once there, he sees that they are putting on a community theater production of “Romeo and Juliet,” and they ask Dan to join the cast. At first, Dan turns them down, but he keeps showing up, and before he knows it, he is cast as Romeo, even though he is too old for the part. As he gets lost in the role it starts to help Dan heal a wound that he never thought was possible.

Written by O’Sullivan, who also co-directs with Thompson, Ghostlight is at its heart a story about loss, often concealed by a charming and fun movie about local theater. The reason why it takes its time for the story to reveal what it is about is in the way O’ Sullivan and Thompson dole out details so delicately of a tragedy that still pulls at the family. Even as its guised in the form of one of Shakespeare’s most well known plays. The themes are also handled with such care and respect and never cheesy, and ultimately, everything braids together in such a beautiful way.

Ghostlight is a movie where you will find heart and humor at every turn. It isn’t a perfect film, but what it is, is a special film. It provides an emotional journey for a grieving family beautifully, while being encouraging as well. This all works because of three standout performances, led by Kupferer, who really brings out Dan as a character that feels real. When you add De Leon and Mallen-Kupferer, the three of them provide everything for the story to feel grounded and real. Ghostlight is a well-earned tearjerker whose last fifteen minutes will have you feeling a range of emotions. This is a movie that will stay with you for a while and reminds us that the road to healing can take many forms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

The Exorcism

The Exorcism

June 21, 2024


June 21, 2024
Inside Out 2

Inside Out 2

June 14, 2024