The Lovely Bones

Film, Drama
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The Lovely Bones
Anyone hoping that Peter Jackson may have returned to the more intimate territory of 1994’s ‘Heavenly Creatures’ for his version of Alice Sebold’s novel must resign themselves to the fact that Jackson’s filmmaking DNA may have become irreversibly modified. The source material might be more down to earth than ‘King Kong’, but Jackson does everything in his power to ditch the real in favour of fantasy.

The book was narrated from the grave by Susie Salmon (played by Saoirse Ronan in the film), a 14-year-old girl who is raped and murdered near her home. From a vantage point between heaven and earth, Susie follows her parents (Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz), her sister (Rose McIver) and her killer, Mr Harvey (Stanley Tucci), as she – and they – struggle to accept her fate. Not that we see anyone raped or murdered in this $100 million, 12A version: Jackson fatally softens the edges of the tragedy and its fallout.

The real let-down is the film’s reliance on overblown effects to represent Susie’s limbo. Coming across as if Dali was commissioned to paint Middle Earth for the New Zealand tourist board, the CGI scenes sideline the cast in favour of the magic of the animator’s hard drive. And it doesn’t help that a gin-swigging Susan Sarandon plays Susie’s grandmother for comic effect just when you feel the film could do with some weight. And who’s telling this story? It should be Susie, and at points she narrates. But there’s no consistency.

Is she a ghost? A narrator? A heroine? A victim? Her chocolate-box world suggests it’s a 14-year-old’s view of life. Yet there are entire sections when we forget Susie’s all-seeing eye and don’t know whether we’re in a drama, a thriller or a horror.

Watch this confused, unhappy film and weep a little for Lynne Ramsay (‘Ratcatcher’), the British director who was first commissioned to write and direct it before it was swept away from her by higher powers.

By: Dave Calhoun


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday February 19 2010
Duration: 139 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Peter Jackson
Screenwriter: Fran Walsh
Cast: Mark Wahlberg
Rachel Weisz
Susan Sarandon
Saoirse Ronan
Stanley Tucci
Michael Imperioli

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
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Horrible, sad sad movie, with a horrible story line: cant believe it............

A very difficult film to rate. Peter Jackson is a master film maker and I believe DOES possess the skills to make something as deep and as meaningful as a 'what could have been' version of this film. Unfortunately the only three good actors here are the main girl, her sister and Tucci. Whalberg is way out of his depth here and seems unable to muster the gravitas needed for these sort of roles. That's not to say the film is not absorbing. Some of the incredible music and visuals do stir deep emotions and thoughts. But it's incredibly flawed piece of cinema which is a shame, I was hoping for more. With all the best intentions this is a little bit of a failure on Peter Jackson's CV.

Only seen this film on TV tonight and was really dissapointed. Having read the book, the film does not do it justice - to me doesnt deserve to have the same book title. The book was fantastic and the film does not appear to even begin to capture the atmosphere/ imagery etc that the book provides. Dont waste your time with the film, stick to the book.

I really disliked this film (just saw in on DVD yesterday) - I've never read the book, though, and don't know if it was just the source material that was bad, but I found all the afterlife stuff really insipid, and the story peters out to a very unsatisfactory conclusion. The one effective bit in the whole thing was actually the bit when Stanley Tucci lures her away, and the only reason it was effective was because it was absolutely terrifying! Reminded me of those films we used to get shown at primary school about stranger danger - really scary and bleak.

THE MOVIE IS A TOTAL BUST AND DISAPPOINTMENT AND THAT IS THE GOD'S TRUTH..HERE IS WHY .How on earth could the same man that produced king kong, The Hobit Trilogy release this work on to the public. The only assumption is a major health event has occured to Petger Jackson. The animation and rainbows and plot misdirection was unbearable. The subject matter is so timely and could have provided some heart wrenching emotions from the viewer and illustrated the seperation of life and death in the minds and hearts of families with insight and maturlity. All opportunities for the viewer to relate to this movie were overshadowed by the illusion ofsome fairytale limbo that was so disconnected they appeared to be totally unrelated. HOW VERY SAD ... THIS MOVIE IS A BUST.. YOUR TIME IS TOO VALUABLE TO CONSIDER THE INVESTMENT IN TIME.

This film is very confusing and i hated it! I was not happy and i think the writer should think the story line through! It is a silly film and not only is it confusing, it was weird and i was told to use my imagination but im sorry, this film is just depressing.

KB you really have problems. If this wasnt a UK publication i'd swear you were one of those half wit american you tube reviewers. Susie is a teenager, not a god like you appear to be. Are you kidding us. She drives like a 14 year old in a us automatic with an idea how to do it but no practice. How can you say she is an ass then type that rubbish. It was a joke wasnt it. Jokes dont come across well in e-mail.

a breath taking film loved it i can't believe he got pleasure out of killins sooooooo sad!!!!!!!!!!!!!:( i love u

a breath taking film loved it i can't believe he got pleasure out of killins sooooooo sad!!!!!!!!!!!!!:( i love u

A difficult book to film but I think Peter Jackson succeeds. I am obviously a lone voice in thinking he captured the essence of the book and felt the same way as I did about it - right down to the flapping of the sheet on the bed at the end.

What a wormy, measly, weak mind KB below has; Susie was killed after being lured into an oubliette by a very nasty man - get over yourself - I'll say a pray for your soul.

Susie Salmon has the once in a lifetime misfortune to live opposite a multiple serial killer who lures her into a secret Fritzl inspired dirt dungeon out on the edge of the forest. School's over, it's getting misty dark, cold so Susie takes the short cut across the lonely corn fields - hey you kids, I'm telling you, don't do that, right! Susie must get to heaven but meanwhile she's stuck in a blue yonder limbo between earth and the ever after - where she aims to influence events ensuring George Harvey, her killer, gets it in the neck. But George is a sly old psychopath who's always just about slipping through the flexible arms of the law. The Susie scenes, in the not quite heaven, are dragged out too much with the usual dream like landscapes straight outta the Wizard of Oz. Rachel Weisz as mum and Susan Saradon as the almost still sexy grandma are both pumping out good scenes that carry the film along nicely when the will-he-won't-he be caught tensions get too much.

Did go to see film after all and wish i had gone to see Wolfman instead! Yes thought it was a bit long winded too and found the fantasy, otherworld bits far too long. Not really my cup of tea!

I was actually going to see it tonight bt after reading the poor reviews i don't know if i will! I like ilms with lots of tension, twists and a really uncomfortable ending. Does this film have any of these things?

I thought this was good. Not a lot of tension really, not really quite sure where the story was supposed to be going, and the end was anti-climactic, but it avoided falling into some of the traps of predictability and corniness which plague many movies. Very interesting aesthetically, and reasonably thought-provoking.

the book is impossible to film but jackson has to be appreciated for his sincere passion and the ingenious visual design and a stunning performance by ronan -she is totally hypnotic as the spirit stuck in a nightmarish idylllic surreal universe -i found it quite intriguing though it is rather slow and the other characters have very little to do other than tucci -but worth a look whether you have or not reaD THE BOOK

This was only on my list of movies to see because of Stanley Tucci’s Oscar nomination. I really wish I hadn’t bothered. This movie is puerile pap. It feels like a cheesey 1970’s “Jackie� magazine murder mystery for not very bright teenage girls. Some of the plot’s toe-curlingly awful, as is the CGI, as is the narration, etc. Alas, there’s some seriously good acting talent going to waste here. I predict this one will be on sale in the DVD bargain bin for around £2 within 6 months.

good film u could hear a pin drop all the way through fast paced attention grabbing had everything in it family fun and drama first love romance close your eyes gory bits(enough 4 me) in between fantasy bits with lovely special effects few tears laughs with gran edge of your seats bits i am what u would call a more senior person i have lost people i loved one suddenly we do hope they stayed around a while to say goodbye and i am slightly spiritual so i was tuned in nicely to this film message from this film let go of the past live 4 today dont be afraid of tomrrow

I really enjoyed this film. The story was good and it was a sad film. Worth a watch =)

I really enjoyed this film. The story was good and it was a sad film. Worth a watch =)

I'm not really sure what film KB was watching but i didnt come away with any of the same issues....The film was fairly good...not read the book but the plot is well thought out but i just got lost...if the girl died and this film continued in the usual way i'd have enjoyed it. Being stuck in the inbetween? What was all that about..nothing happens there apart from some of her own weird fantasies and meeting some people who are connected by misfortune....ok plot but just could have done without the stupid fantasy parts.