‘Ghostlight’ Review: A Meditative Tale of Healing Through Community Theater

Kenny Miles reviews Ghostlight, an affecting comedy-drama focused on a blue-collar guy finding a way to get through his grief in a curious way.

Filmmakers Alex Thompson and Kelly O’Sullivan have masterfully woven a unique narrative in Ghostlight. The story revolves around Dan Mueller (Keith Kupferer), a construction worker who, amid personal turmoil, finds solace in an unexpected encounter with Rita (Dolly de Leon), a community theater actor. This encounter leads to a consequential journey for Dan to audition for the role of Lord Capulet in their upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet. What follows is a poignant journey of self-discovery and healing, beautifully portrayed by the cast.

Ghostlight is a heartfelt indie gem that resonates with its small-town Midwest sensibility. It’s a story of second chances and the transformative power of community theater, where individuals process their grief, channel their passions, and discover themselves. The film’s stealth strength lies in its gentle, quirky moments of simplicity that both humor and touch, such as the characters’ debates over what to watch on TV or their deep breathing exercises in class. With its heart on its sleeve, this indie drama comedy is a testament to the healing power of arts and community, inspiring even the most wounded souls to find solace and growth within themselves and each other.

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Some of the best moments in the film are intimate, vulnerable, and raw during rehearsal, capturing the actors’ moments of self-doubt, their struggles to connect with their characters, and their eventual triumphs. This rawness taps into the universal human experience of acting through their emotions, making the film relatable and emotionally vibrant for any artist. The actors are tender and away to express their feelings on the stage, where they struggle to do so in real life. The film is simple in its premise and plot but lovely and profound about the people you love and live with.

Watching the main characters as actors rehearse in Ghostlight was a highlight that stuck with me days after the movie. Seeing them fall into character and figure out the story was fascinating and heartwarming. It might have been an amateur community theater, but the authentic actors put a lot of work into their performance art, and it made me want to watch local community theater.

Ghostlight is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Written by
Kenny admired film criticism as a child when his mother wrote a positive review of Home Alone in his small town Arkansas newspaper and defended it against angry Letters to the Editor. Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies especially the cultural impact of a film, if something is overlooked by Hollywood, or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, specialty releases, an auteur director, a unique premise, branding, and THE much infamous "awards season." Kenny currently lives in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion working as an events marketing coordinator. He spends many Friday nights exit polling for CinemaScore (and his opinions are his own).

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