Film: I have little patience for horror films, so I almost skipped seeing A Ghost Story, which would have been a big mistake. Yes, it sounds like a spooky tale of spectral jolts, but instead it turns out to be a psychological study of the afterlife, reassuring in its affirmation of the beyond. Director David Lowery gathers an A-list cast headed by Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, both of whom were featured in his earlier release, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Anyway, Affleck quickly is snuffed out in a car crash, but he refuses to take the news lying down. He soon rises off the hospital table in a white sheet and returns to his home trying to reconnect with his widow, Mara. A Ghost Story is barely 90 minutes, but it moves slowly and will probably test your patience. Those who stick with it will be rewarded with a haunting experience.
Theater: Quick, name a famous painting. You picked the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, didn’t you? For more than 500 years, this portrait of a silk merchant’s wife has fascinated us all, and more recently, has fascinated Davie playwright Michael McKeever who spins a series of vignettes about her – fictional and non – in a clever new play, Finding Mona Lisa. Among the tales are how the painting came to hang in Napoleon’s bedroom, how it was stolen out of the Louvre museum, how Jackie Kennedy used her influence to have the artwork visit America and even a few thoughts on what the subject is smiling about. Theatergoers will find themselves smiling a great deal at the versatile ensemble of six, including Tom Wahl, Irene Adjan and Chaz Mena. Continuing through Aug. 13. Call 305-444-9293 for tickets.
Opera: The American composer Jake Heggie took up the Sister Helen Prejean memoir Dead Man Walking for operatic treatment as his first essay in that form, and it premiered in 2000, five years after the Sean Penn movie of Prejean’s 1993 book. The opera has done well since then, and has appearing with some regularity in repertory. But until this week, it hadn’t been done in South Florida. The Miami Music Festival mounts its second performance of the opera tonight at the Broad Center on the campus of Barry University in Miami Shores, featuring festival students on stage and in the orchestra pit. The opera begins at 7:30 p.m., and promises a compelling look at the story of a murder and the effect of the death penalty on everyone involved. Call 305-284-2400 for tickets.
Art: Outsider art is some of the most cherished visual art there is, probably because it seems so relatable to everyone: in many cases, these literally are the people next door creating works with a much wider reach. Such is the case with the Lake Worth artist Rosemary Otto, whose artwork has been a way of coping with a lifelong battle with mental illness. Her primitive-style paintings are charming, but also full of vibrant color and a kind of intense warmth that makes them lovable. A large number of them are on display through the end of next month at Rolando Chang Barrero’s Box Gallery on Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach. The show, which features Otto’s Invisible Women series, offers viewers a glimpse of a painter whose visions invite one in to a place of serenity and beautiful color, and sometimes that’s all we need from art. For more information, call 786-521-1199.