The Lovely Bones is the adaptation of the bestselling book of the same name from author Alice Sebold. Peter Jackson directs the movie and enlists the help of his Lord of the Rings crew and co-writers to bring the book to life.
The movie follows a family that is being torn apart after a neighbor viciously murders Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), the oldest daughter in a family of five. The narrative is told from the perspective of Suzie in the afterlife. When the neighbor begins eyeing her younger sister to become his next victim, she refuses to move into the afterlife until she knows her younger sister is safe.
Why you should see this movie
Peter Jackson is one to go for slow embellishment of emotion. He knows how to take moments and dissect them on screen with more delicacy than most filmmakers. Jackson takes small objects and moments that most filmmakers would hand over to second unit directors and make them parallel the story or a character’s emotion.
While this is far from Jackson’s best, it is well done. It has very strong reminders of one of his earlier movies Heavenly Creatures. His wonder and curiosity is always apparent in the exploration of the afterlife when jumping from the present reality to Susie’s outside perspective in heaven looking down at her family.
The cast does a great job, as the often do in a Jackson directed ensemble. Mark Wahlberg was brought in at the last moment to replace Ryan Gosling after he and Jackson had creative differences. It was a welcome addition as Wahlberg proves that he is capable of having so many thoughts and emotions going on under the surface of his performance. Stanley Tucci, as the murderous neighbor, rightfully earned an Oscar nomination. Rachel Weisz, Rose McIver, and Susan Sarandon are also brilliant additions.
Why you may want to see something else.
The film covers some heavy material. Tucci plays a pedophiliac murderer, and does it well. The disturbing content is not for everyone. The movie does have a few conventional plot turns that do not surprise a whole lot. However, they were necessary to respect the source material.
To visit another altered form of reality, check out Fowler’s review of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus here. Also, check out his Examiner page all week for Iron Man 2 coverage, including a list of IMAX screenings.