The Lovely Bones Review

The visual effects in Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones” are unmistakably imaginative, but the argument grew whether the movie was too toned down compared to the novel.

Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) stars as Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl who was murdered before getting the chance to experience her teenage life.

While residing in the Inbetween, she struggles to make contact with her family, and forget the horrors of her last moments alive. After her death, her family copes with their loss in their own ways, while Susie watches from afar.

Alice Sebold’s novel did not seem to get justice through Peter Jackson’s on-screen retelling.

Instead of leaving the brutal elements that made the book so bittersweet, Jackson covered them with a toned down, teen-friendly edition either to maintain a PG-13 rating, or to stop the movie before the length became unbearable.

In the book, Susie is raped, murdered and disfigured after her death. In the film, it only hints towards her murder and the actual act is left off-screen.

Though the novel persisted on the topics of life after death, and good triumphing over the worst kinds of evil, the movie seemed to rely more-so on the special effects. The Inbetween is portrayed magnificently, but it seems to be the main priority of the film. Remember of course Jackson’s other films were Lord of the Rings, King Kong, and District 9.

The acting overall was good when the opportunity for emotional aspects were given. Mark Wahlberg (Max Payne; The Happening) and Rachel Weisz (Definitely Maybe; Constantine) portray Susie’s grieving parents who begin to fall apart after their daughter’s death.

Susie’s sister, played by Rose McIver (The Piano; Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board) and Wahlberg, offer the vengeful side of the family who thrive for justice for Susie’s murderer.

Though these characters had such potential, the movie offered little character development.

Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada; Julie & Julia) portrays the serial murderer exceptionally. The suspense and terror his character offers adds the little bit of horror that the film holds.

Susan Sarandon also stars in the film as Susie’s eccentric, alcoholic grandmother. The major use of this character mid-way through the movie seemed like a poor attempt for comic relief. It left some viewers wondering, ‘So what does this have to do with the plot line?’ It took away a lot of the tragedy and seriousness that should have remained bitter if it was to follow the book’s dramatics.

Though I personally would only rate the movie a 6 out of 10, MCCC student Liz Sprow had a different opinion on the film.

“It was a really good movie. It was extremely morbid on how the serial killer entrapped his victims, but overall it gives a good lesson for younger adults,” Sprow said.

“The acting was really good, Saoirse Ronan especially. She portrayed that tormented soul as she made peace with how the serial killer stole her life and took everything from her. That was an extremely emotional part and I think she did it very well at such a young age.”

According to Sprow, Jackson’s visual effects did not let her down.

“The graphics were definitely breathtaking. Very imaginative, very creative how everything was established in the Inbetween,” she said.

“When her world in the Inbetween is starting to fall apart as her body is getting disposed of, that was a really interesting construction of things.”

Sprow concluded with her own personal rating of the movie.

“I would rate it 5 out of 5, easily.”

Movie viewers who have not read the novel will most likely find “The Lovely Bones” a dark, but hopeful, worthwhile two-plus hours. However, lovers of the book may be in for a disappointment.