Monday, 28 September 2020
The Lovely Bones
Monday, 18 January 2010 00:00

The Lovely BonesThe Lovely Bones is a much-anticipated film based on Alice Sebold’s famous novel about the gruesome murder of a young girl. Unfortunately, despite the buzz, Peter Jackson’s film adaptation is a disappointment.

Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is a precocious 14 year-old on the cusp of growing up. She has a loving family, budding interests, and a first crush. But all of it is taken away when a twisted killer (Stanley Tucci) snuffs out her life, murdering her in a cornfield near her home. Susie’s spirit is set adrift in a dreamlike “in-between” world, observing her family’s desperation but unable to bring her murderer to justice.

Wahlberg and TucciThe substance of the book is about Susie’s family dealing with an unimaginable tragedy, and trying to move on with so many unanswered questions. Unfortunately the film doesn’t sit still long enough to tell that story, or any story really. It constantly cuts from scene to scene, replaying flashbacks to the point of boredom and favoring grandiose visual effects over good story telling. Despite brutal subject matter, at times it is actually ridiculous.

The actors try their best but Jackson hasn’t left them much to work with. I wonder just how many great dramatic moments were cut in favor of CG fantasy sequences. Mark Wahlberg is convincing as the tormented father, but he barely gets to speak. Susan Sarandon plays a wacky grandmother whose scenes belong more in a Disney comedy.

Saoirse RonanStanley Tucci is probably the best thing about this film. Oozing sinister perversity he is genuinely creepy, making me wonder why Susie would trust him to begin with. I certainly wouldn’t follow him into a hole in a cornfield, no matter how many “Betty & Veronica” comics he had down there!

The Lovely Bones is a visually flamboyant but boring film that never allows the audience to emotionally connect.




The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold has sold over 10 million copies.
• Director Peter Jackson has a brief cameo in the film.