When 14-year-old Susie Salmon is murdered, she watches from above as her family deals with her tragic death -- and as her killer prepares to strike again. Torn between vengeance and healing, Susie's loved ones are forever changed.
The book was amazing, but the film didn't quite live up to its high standards. Saoirse Ronan (pronounced Sair(like fair)-sha) was okay, if a bit drab at times, and Susan Sarandon was not very believable. The rest of the cast really brought it alive, the family Susie Salmon left behind played grief superbly.
Stanley Tucci gave me chills as the incredible George Harvey, he was a little out of his comfort zone, and he proved himself as a serious actor.
I am sorry to say this but I thought that this movie turned out horribly! I have read this book 3 times and I don't think that the producers followed the book hardly at all. The place where the sink hole was belonged to the Flanagans not Ruth's family in the book. Susie didn't really have a huge crush on Ray, he was the one who was mooning over her. When Susie gets to heaven she meets Franny before she meets Holly. I also saw that they "forgot" to put in the mother's affair with the detective, that the neighbors dog found Susie's elbow, the father had a heart attack and Susie and Ray almost kiss in the auditorium. The times were wrong too. Susie's mother leaves after the dad attacks the young couple, Mr.Harvey gets rid of Susie's body almost 2 days after he kills her, also Susie's father suspected Mr.Harvey when he was helping him make a memorial wedding tent a week after the murder. I was dissapointed when the producers didn't show the memorial for Susie, the mother's affair with the detective, more of Lindsey and Sam's relationship, Ray and Ruth's connection, or at least more of Buckley. I literally shouted at the screen when Susie went into Ruth's body. That part was supposed to happen on the roadside beside Hal's(Sam's brother) bike shop. Then "Susie" and Ray were to go in the bike shop and make love. That was one of the things that Susie wanted to do in heaven. Seriously if you've read the book then don't waste your time or your money watching this movie. Buy the book you'll be much more satisfied with that purchase.
"The Lovely Bones" is a heart-wrenching and disturbing journey into very dark and emotional territories.
Saoirse Ronan brilliantly plays 14 year-old Susie Salmon who is brutally murdered by an evil, sadistic neighborhood resident played by Stanley Tucci. Susie is caught in what's called "in between" and the story unfolds as she is able to see both her family and her murderer while trying to understand exactly where she is. Ronan gives a great performance as an innocent, likable young girl who immediately draws you in by her sweetness. Wahlberg and Weisz are very well cast as Susie's suffering, heart-broken parents trying to cope with the loss of their child and with the fact that her killer is still at large.
But the real star is Stanley Tucci who has shown amazing diversity throughout his film career. Here he creates one of the most frightening, unnerving, spine-chilling villians ever on film. His ability to disturb by simple looks or mannerisms is amazing and shows why he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
Director Peter Jackson creates some amazing, surreal imagery when depicting his vision of the "in between" and his use of CGI is excellent.
The film isn't perfect. Susan Sarandon plays Susie's grandmother and her character really contributes little to the story other than being annoying and absurd. She also is the centerpiece of a really odd, out of place scene in the middle of the film meant as comic relief. Her character could have been completely omited and it would have helped the film more than hurt it. There are also some plot holes that I really wished has been covered.
But those things aside, "The Lovely Bones" is a strong film that will make you uncomfortable one moment and have tears coming down the next. May be hard to watch for some but this is a movie that should be seen.
A case of what Peter Jackson did next here. Wingnut Productions has been plenty busy of late and this one hundred and eighty degree turn away from all things Hobbit-like was perhaps not the most obvious choice for Jackson, though still a recognisable nod that harks back to his early days and a penchant for visceral and gruesome horror flicks, even if The Lovely Bones falls into neither category all too comfortably.
Whilst all of the Oscar madness has been ensuing, The Lovely Bones has gone about its business in its own sweet way, and has yet to succumb to massive marketing hype in order to get its nominations, of which there may be at least a couple when the gongs are finally handed out at the start of March this year. Whether the Academy feels the film is good enough to make winners of those suspected nominations, is something else entirely.
Only Susan Sarandon has really been heard to mention anything on the subject of Oscar, suggesting that she would personally be very surprised if the film didn’t pick up at least one nomination for the performance of Saoirse Ronan, playing the part of the actual and then late Susie Salmon. This could easily be seen as partisan, or even worse, marketing bias, which is something I find surprising of Sarandon, if only for the reason that you would expect her to have risen above all that posturing by now.
This would only be the case of course, if Ronan was not indeed deserving of such a credit, so the real question of Sarandon’s ethics would be if Ronan was actually any good or not. Ronan, probably best known for her roles in City of Ember and Atonement is certainly shaping up to be a fine actress, but worthy of an Oscar? Not his time around I fear, though while she is engaging as a lost/dead/missing (delete as applicable) girl in this, she never really gives what can be called an Oscar winning performance. Simply a very good one, but never does she truly shine (at least not without the aid of some otherworldly and gratifyingly beautiful special FX).
Jackson takes the original work and almost does it justice, taking his audience on a regularly uncomfortable but no less intriguing trip first through Susie’s early teenagedom, as it was weaved together in a seventies patchwork of hazy Wonder Years flashbacks and old copies of The Bunty, through to her (can we call it) life in the spaces between time and space and her efforts to understand her own place in the grand scheme of things, with the aid, inevitably, of a initially mysterious but helpful guide in the guise of Holly.
Oddly for a cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, the support is excellent throughout. With the aforementioned Wahlberg playing the Susie’s father, who refuses to accept his loss. His reluctance is to everybody else’s benefit, bar one. That being George Harvey, Susie’s killer, played superbly by a barely recognisable Stanley Tucci, evil contact lenses included.
Completing the main ensemble is Rachel Weisz as often estranged (what would you expect) mother of the victim, who despite her loss, inexplicably disappears off to the country in an attempt to deal with it, leaving her two remaining children at home with her husband. The eldest of these two remaining children, Lindsey, is played by Rose McIver, who is given the opportunity to develop her role throughout the film and does a reasonably decent job of doing just that. Lindsey and George share the most knife-edge scene in the film, that when you watch it, will have you almost screaming at the screen.
Finally, Susan Sarandon plays Susie’s grandmother. Not one to look at, as she is about as conservative with her dress sense and her tongue as asking Paris Hilton to do the splits for a tenner on the cover of Rolling Stone. Quick-witted and happy to dispense a world-weary word of advice to anyone that is prepared to listen, Sarandon seems made for the role. Whether this is a compliment or not, I’m not yet quite sure.
In all, a formidable cast compiled for an adaptation of a very difficult story to film. A job not badly done in the least, by all accounts, and whilst not knocking on the door of the Academy (with good reason) it may get at least nominations, if not the awards, that Sarandon at least believes it deserves.
I’m almost at a loss for words as to how awful this movie was. I sat there watching waiting for it to get better and it just never did. I don't know what I found more appalling; The fact that everyone acted as if a father wanting to find his daughters murderer almost most to the point of insanity was well insane, or that the mother abandoned her other two children and husband and that was just fine and dandy. I think the only good thing about this movie was the music. Don’t waste your time or money
At The Movies
The Lovely Bones (PG) * * *
By ROBERT WALDMAN
Unearthly experiences compound the terror in The Lovely Bones, a pot-boiler of a movie from Paramount Pictures now freaking folks out at Tinseltown (on Pender, free parking), Colossus and Famous Players Silver City cites around B.C.
Cult followings don’t come easy and die hard. Able to carve out an impressive niche among cinephiles everywhere has been Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring). Our favourite New Zealand ex-patriot continues to impress with his classy version of the best-selling novel from Alice Sebold .
Time travel back and forth fleshes out the saga of one Susie Salmon. Cute as a button Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) oozes energy as this 14 year old who back in 1973 was just undergoing the rights of puberty. Tender moments showing Susie with friends and would-be friends help reveal her personality which is still changing day by day as she is at that experimental stage. Out of the blue one event would change Susie’s situation and open up all sorts of wounds with her family.
At home all seemed normal in the Salmon household. Led by numbers man Jack and loving wife Abigail these two cherished their children which included one baby brother and sister. Both Mark Wahlberg (Shooter) and Rachel Weisz (The Mummy) act out these parts well as caring parents who one day find themselves in a bit of a quandary. When Susie fails to come home from school the danger signals go up and The Lovely Bones takes a turn for the worse.
Jackson succeeds in setting up a very creepy atmosphere and fleshes it out with some sinister people who inhabit this small rather close-knit community. Any time a child goes missing it sends chills through entire communities and this one is no exception. Never give up is a theme we can all relate to as well as finding the truth. Mark Wahlberg delivers a stirring testament of the pain and anger a father goes through not knowing the fate of his daughter while the trauma revealed by Rachel Weisz as the horrified mother also speaks volumes. Add on the appearance of an eccentric grandmother played up to the hilt by Susan Sarandon (Thelma and Louise) in one of her most free-spirited portrayals in years and you do feel for this entire family.
Readers of the hit book may recall that there was a dream like quality too it and an imaginary world between heaven and heart, sort of a never land. Seeing images of a no longer living Susie stare down at her living family who try to unravel what went wrong is a novel approach to getting out a message only here that world is rather confusing. Sequences in this transitionary world though quite picturesque don’t really add too much to the tale and rather muddle up the goings-on down below. We care about what’s happening to solve this tragedu on earth in real time and get lost whenever these imaginary moments pop up.
Tension is well positioned here with one creepy neighbour, George Harvey, particulary unnerving. Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada) can do evil with the best of them and he’s right up there with Hannibal Lector as a bad guy. Forget about violence here, our Mr. Harvey has a rather cold, calculating mind and watching him ply his trade here is downright dastardly. Cold and chilling describe Tucci’s demeanour here.
Unfortunately a very weak ending with some way too altruistic dialogue at film’s closing take away from what would otherwise been a very good whodunit. Long at 135 minutes The Lovely Bones does involve some very good performance and a very chilling slow-building suspenseful atmosphere but loses much impact whenever that “other” world tries to draw you in. Instead it pulls you apart.
Read more reviews by Robert at www.moviereviewssite.com