Peter Jackson took on more than he might have bargained for with the film adaptation of The Lovely Bones. The film is constantly walking the line between disturbing and beautiful, and overall it is a success, just not the full success that it had the potential to be. There is no debating that this is one of beautiful films that you’ll see all year, with phenomenal performances across the board. It is filled to the brim with many wonderful qualities that carry you along throughout the film, and it’s great to see Jackson taking a risk on such a tricky novel. Sadly, as much as I wanted to love the film, I didn’t, at least not as much as I hoped I would.

Lets take a look at what what right and what went not so right…

The Players:

The Plot:

The Lovely Bones is based on the best selling book by Alice Sebold, and is told from the perspective of Susan Salmon, a 14-year-old suburban girl who is raped and murdered by her neighbor on her way home from school. After her murder, she lives in the “in between” and watches her family adjust to her being gone and tries to help them find her killer.

The Good:

  • Saoirse Ronan: Man can that girl act. She’s open, honest, and takes an extremely difficult role and tackles it head on.
  • Stanley Tucci: A film is only as strong as its villain. For someone so sweet and charming, he can switch from the guy next door to your worst nightmare in the blink of an eye without any obvious changes.
  • The Use of Colors: The use of lighting and colors added a tremendous amount to the depth of the film. From the darkness of reality to the beautiful colors during the dream-like sequences while she’s in the “in between”, the film feels like a painting come to life.

The Bad:

  • The Sign-Posting: Everything is pointed out to you and you’re not left to discover anything on your own. As an audience, we get that certain things in the start of the movie might come into play later, we don’t need to hang on to every tiny little thing for an extra 3 seconds with some eerie music to MAKE SURE that we see exactly what’s coming.
  • Special Effects: Although they were good, it felt like they forced in a few too many because, hey, they could! The simple effects, such as the flickering light or shifts in color were often far more effective then the big budget extravaganzas.
  • Run-time: Yet again, it was far too long for its own good. Keep it simple.
  • Redemption: (Spoiler Alert) The film involves the rape and murder of a child, by a man who seems to be evil for no good reason, as a audience we need some redemption. We need to know that things aren’t that fucked up. In a different movie you could get away with it, but in this film, with this rating, the ending needed to come together in a more satisfying way.
  • “Huh?” Moments: There are a few moments that character-wise the plot just doesn’t make sense. Yes, these are extraordinary circumstances, but the heart of this film lies in the humanity of it, and therefore the characters have to act like real people. Through no fault of the actors certain events played out in completely unrealistic ways which took away from the dark reality that the film was trying to hit you with. Without the “realness” you’re taken out of the dream and can no longer sit in awe of the beauty that is in front of you.


Overall, this is an interesting film and it is beautiful to watch, but something about it made me feel like it wasn’t fully realized or pushed to its greatest potential. If you are going to see it, see it in theaters because that’s where you can take in the full wonder of it, don’t want for the DVD.

Rating: 6/10

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