Reviews, Reports + Comments

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review of film: “THE LOVELY BONES”

2009, 01-12:

Review of film:  THE LOVELY BONES


Peter Jackson.


Novel =  Alice Sebold.

Screenplay = 
Fran Walsh
Philippa Boyens
Peter Jackson.


Susan Sarandon
Rachel Weisz
Mark Wahlberg
Saoirse Ronan
Stanley Tucci
Nikki SooHoo
Amanda Michalka
Jake Abel
Rose McIver 
Michael Imperioli
Reece Ritchie
Thomas McCarthy
Andrew James Allen
Carolyn Dando
Anna George
Charlie Saxton
Christian Thomas Ashdale

MPAA Rating: 

PG-13 for mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content & images, and some language.


“It’s a perfect world.”
“Happiness is loving you.”
“It’s a crime to be creative--.”
“I was slipping away; that’s what it felt like.”
“I take my medicine every day.”
“Susie’s in the In-Between.”

MY Rating:  

7.75 of 10 stars (based on an advance screening of a 135-minute film opening 01-15-10).

The Bones are there, but the “Lovely” dimension seems LACKING

Based on Alice Sebold ‘s best-selling novel, the story concerns a 14-year-old girl named Susie Salmon (excellently played by SAOIRSE RONAN).  She’s an enthusiastic and generally outgoing high school student who’s very smitten with older student Ray Singh (REECE RITCHIE)…

  Susie is part of a loving family headed by her father Jack (MARK WAHLBERG), plus Mom Abigail (RACHEL WEISZ), track-running sister Lindsay (Rose McIver), & baby brother Buckley (CHRISTIAN THOMAS ASHDALE).  Periodically, they’re visited by abrasive, inconsiderate, free-thinking Grandma Lynn (SUSAN SARANDON)…

  The story delves into the daily lives of the Salmon family & people they meet along the way, including other students (such as outwardly-unusual Clarissa, played by AMANDA MICHALKA) and various neighbors…

  One of those residents is periodically-creepy George Harvey (STANLEY TUCCI), who seems to have an unusual interest in watching the doings of young girls who pass by his house (where he dabbles in constructing doll houses and collecting figurines)…

  After an incident with neighbor George, Susie suddenly disappears and turns up murdered.  The film has her watching over people in the town from a “way-station” on the path to Heaven (where she talks to people such as Holly, played by NIKKI SOOHOO)…

  Members of her family are deeply affected by her death, they desperately want her killer to be found, & certain members try to take things into their own hands (with some frightening results)…

  Will her killer be discovered?…  Will he “PAY” for what he did, &, if so, how & when?…  What closure (if any) will be unearthed by the family or the police or others?…

  This film has some fine tension and creative representations of “way-station” scenes.  Near the  very end, it has a scene concerning the boyfriend Susie once liked, & I found it to be very hard-to-believe & thus off-putting: 

  it seemed to be sort of “thrown into” the story for the purpose of having a to-me unfitting insertion of a false “feel-good” element (which is one reason I lowered my film rating by using an unusual “quarters” situation)…

  Overall, the acting is fine, & I wouldn’t be surprised to see Oscar nominations for Saoirse Ronan & Stanley Tucci (who’s efficiently “charming” in his underlying slithering demeanor)… 

  Given the subject matter, it’s a hard film to really “enjoy”--  more FASCINATING than something you can “delight” in, &, outside of those who may have read & liked the book (or lovers of Peter Jackson’s work), I think it’ll prove a “tough sell” to the “general” public…

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