Review: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones | Peter Jackson, 2009

Like with A Serious Man, I couldn’t make up my mid right away about how much, if at all, I had liked The Lovely Bones. It is by no means a perfect movie. But after reflecting on it for a little bit, I can say that my most anticipated movie of the year delivered, although it is not quite what I was expecting, and that it did not deserve to be critically panned. However, I can see why people would not like it.

Based on the novel by Alice Sebold, movie tells the story of Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), a typical 14-year-old girl. However, one day she gets killed by her neighbor, Mr. Harvey (Stanley Tucci). Then we see the rest of the story through her eyes, as she sees things in the “in-between.” We also see how she copes with her murder and tries to move. on.

There are two things that keep this movie from being my favorite movie of the year: the poor character development, and the characterization of Mr. Harvey. In the book, we see the character that are still alive go through years of trying to move on from the murder as well as the father trying to solve the murder when the police has given up.  In the book, the fact that the mother leaves her family has a bigger impact than it does in the movie. Pretty much every character in the movie does not measure up to how they were in the book. The one character the does get enough development in the movies is Mr. Harvey, yet how is portrayed affected the credibility of the script. The way I pictured him in the book, although he is a loner, he is not the type of guy you would suspect to do something like that. Yet, in the movie he is the most obvious pedophile I could not help but wonder why he wasn’t the number one suspect just based on his appearance, creepy hobbies, and creepy behavior. With that said, the good thing outweigh the bad.

First off, Saoirse Ronan is excellent in this. Her work in this, Atonement, and City of Ember show that she is without a doubt the best young actress working right now (sorry Dakota Fanning). The rest of the cast despite the lack of things to do really good work, even Mark Walbergh. As for Stanley Tucci, he was was very good, but his Oscar nomination should have been for Julie & Julia.

Technically, the movie is impeccable. Peter Jackson’s vision, although rough at times, was perfect for the story. The scenes in heaven are beautiful thanks to the great visual effects. The cinematography, the art direction, the costumes, the score, all brilliant.

The Lovely Bones is an extremely flawed film, but the power of the story remains, and that is all that matters. It could have been better, but as it stands it is one of the best movies of the year.


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