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Film Review: The Lovely Bones

Posted on the 31 January 2013 by Donnambr @_mrs_b

About The Lovely Bones (2009)The Lovely Bones Film Review: The Lovely BonesBased on the best selling book by Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones is the story of a 14-year-old girl from suburban Pennsylvania who is murdered by her neighbor. She tells the story from Heaven, showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed all while attempting to get someone to find her lost body.

 

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon

Directed by: Peter Jackson

Runtime: 135 minutes

Studio: Paramount

 

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Review: The Lovely Bones 

It’s only in recent months that I’ve read The Lovely Bones and I did enjoy it though some elements I found disappointing. Peter Jackson took the helm for this big screen adaptation and after his excellent adaptation of Tolkien I was quietly confident of a good job here. The film tells the story of Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), a fourteen year old girl who is murdered on her way home from school by a neighbor George Harvey (Stanley Tucci). Susie ascends to her own personal heaven where she watches her family, friends and George Harvey continue with their lives while she struggles to let go and complete her own journey in the afterlife.

Being a Peter Jackson vehicle it was inevitable that the effects in the film would be fantastic and they are. Susie’s heaven if often rich in color and beautiful but there are many dark moments for her as well as she feels the struggles of her loved ones. Much of the novel has been changed with some key elements left out. The gulf that develops between Jack (Mark Wahlberg) and Abigail Salmon (Rachel Weisz) seems more sudden in the film and Abigail’s affair from the novel is left out here. There were three particulary moving scenes in the novel which affected me more than anything else but sadly only one has been retained in the film which is a shame.

 

It almost feels as if the film could have been longer to pack in the entire story and give more substance to the characters. Susie’s love interest Ray Singh (Reece Ritchie) and a classmate Ruth Connors (Carolyn Dando) have some screen time but it doesn’t feel as prominent as in the book. Understandably, Susie’s murder is implied in the film but there are some difficult moments such as the sight of George Harvey bathing after the killing, his muddied and bloodied clothes discarded on the bathroom floor.

 

The high points of the film are undoubtedly Ronan and Tucci. Ronan puts in a commanding performance as Susie and conveys a multitude of emotions. Tucci is also excellent as the creepy George Harvey and it’s no surprise both he and Ronan were lauded by critics and were nominated for awards. The rest of the cast are a mixed bag really. I thought Susan Sarandon was amusing as Grandma Lynn but Wahlberg and Weisz didn’t quite seem right as Susie’s parents. The absence of some scenes from the book does leave the narrative somewhat disjointed and though a pleasant visceral experience it ends up only as good rather than brilliant.

Verdict: 3/5

(Film source: reviewer’s own copy)

Film Review: The Lovely Bones | Thank you for reading Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave

 


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