SXSW 2024: Ghostlight – A Triumphant Drama

‘Ghostlight’ is a full length featured comedy/drama written and directed by Kelly O’Sullivan with director support from Alex Thompson. It is an exceptionally smart film exploring the themes of suicide, loss and grief, and how participation in performance art can lift a grieving family out of its despair and provide a shining light in a world of pain. 

It is a triumphant tear-jerking drama that, overall, is certainly one of the most touching films in this year’s SXSW catalogue. It also offers one specific individual performance that takes the proverbial cake at this year’s festival:

Our protagonist Dan, beautifully played by Keith Kupferer, plays a dad whom is unsure how to handle the terrible loss of his son, then reluctantly joins a rag-tag group of community theater people, where he portrays Romeo in Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet. Therein he begins to realize immensely needed escapism from his deep grief, and in so doing, picks his family up out of their downward spiral.

Kupferer expertly carries the weight of the story in this performance-heavy drama. It is his acting prowess, and more specifically his facial expressions that simply MUST be totally believable in order for this film to succeed… and succeed it does.

Another victory with this film is the existential character development of the grieving family. O’Sullivan has given us multiple masterfully woven character arcs that ultimately lead to immense joy and satisfaction for the viewer. Each scene is crafted so meaningfully and with such soul that one can’t help but adore the telling of this heartwarming story.

There is no surprise here that ‘Ghostlight’ has been picked up at this year’s Sundance festival by IFC with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and 9/10 on 

We’ll be looking out for more to come from both Kupferer and O’Sullivan in the future

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