The Lovely Bones – Film Review

(136 MIN, CERT 12)
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Amanda Michalka 

The Lovely Bones is a 2010 drama, directed by The Lord of the Ring’s Peter Jackson, with Steven Spielberg acting as executive producer. The film is taken from the award-winning and best-selling novel of the same name written by Alice Sebold, and is due for DVD release on 28th June 2010.

The film is set in the year 1973 in Pennsylvania, America, and follows the character of Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), a 14-year old girl who admires photography. With the audience allowed only a small amount of time to build up a relationship with the character, Susie is soon killed off by George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), a ‘friendly’ neighbour who has been killing for years and has had his next victim [Susie] in the pipeline for sometime now. Offering scenes which at times are emotional and uncomfortable to view, Susie’s life ends, leaving a number of answered questions left behind.

There is a lot of speculation as to what happens once you die, but with the Help of Peter Jackson and his production team, The Lovely Bones introduces us to a world which only the creative of minds could imagine. Like many life-after-death film representations, we acknowledge there is unfinished business which needs to be resolved. Situated in the ‘in-between’, Susie has not quite reached her final resting point. Able to look down at her family and the chaos she has left behind, which has turned into an ongoing police investigation, it is up to Susie to guide her family to reveal the killer of the innocent school girl.

Engaging audience with the use of an authentic look and stunning visual effects, which was bound to get top marks from Peter Jackson, The Lovely Bones touches upon an emotional subject which is rarely spoken upon within today’s society. Dealing with aspects of religion and what really does happen once your time is up, this film also lightens a matter which many shadow away from.

What worked good as a film, worked much better as a novel however. There is much disappointment in terms of the novel to screen adaptation of Alice Sebold’s original novel. The paper version focuses on chapters which are not included within the film whatsoever, with the novel building a strong and understanding relationship with the main characters throughout, as well as giving a great detail of background information into every character Sebold introduces. It seems to be a key element the film fails to deliver. Peter Jackson’s film adaptation seems to rush into something which easily could have added a fresh opening sequence to the main feature. Missing other important notions and themes throughout also, The Lovely Bones could have delivered yet another success story for Jackson himself if only the running time was the typical 180 minutes we are used to in Jackson’s previous films.

If you’re a fan of Alice Sebold’s original, this latest offering may disappoint, yet gaining another take on Susie Salmon’s story is something which will visually please.

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