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The Lovely Bones (2009)

aka The Lovely Bones

"The story of a life and everything that came after..."

Directed By: 
Details: 135 mins · English · PG-13 (USA)

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(Review written in 2010)

The Lovely Bones is a gorgeous movie. It should be no secret that the main character is murdered, so I’m going to go ahead and reveal it. But, in the scenes in the “in-between” it’s easy to be gratuitous and over-do it on the special effects and gorgeous shots. And I think it was handled well. I’m not saying that there wasn’t showing off – plenty of it, really – but having read the book, I know it was needed. And it really was gorgeous. Then you pair it with the occasional desaturation of the main part of the film, and the terrible 70s outfits and color combinations…and you’ve got a party.

The acting was another highlight. Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Saoirse Ronan are absolutely amazing. Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan are getting plenty of recognition for how incredible they are in this movie, so I’m not going to dwell on them, but Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz are not getting enough praise. Mark is, arguably, the most vulnerable char...(more)

(Review written in 2010)

The Lovely Bones is a gorgeous movie. It should be no secret that the main character is murdered, so I’m going to go ahead and reveal it. But, in the scenes in the “in-between” it’s easy to be gratuitous and over-do it on the special effects and gorgeous shots. And I think it was handled well. I’m not saying that there wasn’t showing off – plenty of it, really – but having read the book, I know it was needed. And it really was gorgeous. Then you pair it with the occasional desaturation of the main part of the film, and the terrible 70s outfits and color combinations…and you’ve got a party.

The acting was another highlight. Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Saoirse Ronan are absolutely amazing. Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan are getting plenty of recognition for how incredible they are in this movie, so I’m not going to dwell on them, but Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz are not getting enough praise. Mark is, arguably, the most vulnerable character in the entire movie. Some of his scenes, by himself, are just so heartbreaking it’s almost unbearable.

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the plot, too, and the way the murder is solved before it even happens. To you, dear people, I say you’ve missed the point. The murderer is in the trailers, ladies and gentlemen, so if you thought this was a “whodunit” deal, you were wrong. The plot rides on the emotional and psychological effects on the death/disappearance of a close family member, and even the way your own murder could affect you.

Granted, there were a lot of genuinely boring (too brooding!) parts and the plot went a little cheesy every now and again (some parts, in particular, I remember reading in the book and hoping they wouldn’t include in the movie…and they did…)

But, overall, I think it was well done. It’s worth seeing just for the incredible tension that builds before the murder. It frightens you, sitting in your comfortable seat in the theater. And I like that. (less)

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Cast:

Small Abigail Salmon
Small Jack Salmon
Small Grandma Lynn
Small Susie Salmon
Small George Harvey
Small Len Fenerman
No_movie_poster Lindsey Salmon
No_movie_poster Ruth Connors
Small Ray Singh
Small Ronald Drake
Small Man at Pharmacy
Small Foreman's Wife
Small Principal Caden
No_movie_poster Suspect #1 in Mall
Small Clarissa
No_movie_poster Samuel Heckler
No_movie_poster Holly
Small Brian Nelson
No_movie_poster Townsperson

Crew:

Small Peter Jackson Director
No_movie_poster Andrew Lesnie Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Brian Eno Original Music Composer
Small Alice Sebold Novel
No_movie_poster James Wilson Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Fran Walsh Production
No_movie_poster Carolynne Cunningham Production
Small Peter Jackson Production
Small Peter Jackson Writer
No_movie_poster Fran Walsh Writer
No_movie_poster Philippa Boyens Writer
Small Alice Sebold Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Jabez Olssen Editing

Taglines:

"The story of a life and everything that came after..."

Plot:

In 1973, Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), a 14-year-old girl living in Pennsylvania with her parents, sister, and brother, dreams about becoming a photographer some day. One day, Ray Singh (Reece Ritchie), a boy Susie has a crush on, approaches her at her locker and slips a note into her textbook. He asks her out for the following Saturday. As Susie walks home through a cornfield, she runs into her neighbor, George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), who coaxes her into his underground den. Inside, Susie becomes uncomfortable in Harvey's presence and attempts to leave; when he grabs her, the scene fades until you see her rushing past classmate Ruth Connors (Carolyn Dando).

Meanwhile, the Salmon family becomes worried that Susie failed to return. Her father, Jack (Mark Wahlberg), leaves to search for her, while her mother, Abigail (Rachel Weisz), waits for the police. In town, Susie sees her father, but he does not respond to her calls. Susie then runs home to find Harvey soaking in a bathtub. After seeing her charm bracelet hanging on the sink faucet near a bloody shaving razor, Susie realizes that she never escaped the den and was actually murdered by Harvey. Screaming, she is pulled into the "In-Between", that is neither Heaven nor Earth. From there, Susie watches over her loved ones, unable to let go despite her new afterlife friend, Holly (Nikki SooHoo), urging her to move on.

Investigating Susie's disappearance with Detective Len Fenerman (Michael Imperioli), Jack thinks Susie was murdered by someone she knew. He begins obsessively researching neighbors, including Harvey, who actually murdered Susie; Jack also comes to think that Harvey is the killer. But after interviewing Harvey, Fenerman is unable to find any evidence that would pinpoint him as a suspect, as he cleaned up all evidence of his killing her before they arrived. Susie's sister, Lindsey (Rose McIver), comes to agree with her father's suspicions, but their casework takes an emotional toll on Abigail, and Jack invites her alcoholic mother, Lynn (Susan Sarandon), to move in with the family. Feeling alienated from her husband, Abigail leaves for California. In her afterlife, Susie inspects a lighthouse and learns that Harvey, who has now targeted Lindsey as his next victim, has murdered seven other girls, including Holly, and that he stuffed Susie's body into a safe in his basement.

One night, Jack, carrying a bat, trails Harvey into the cornfield. However, Jack accidentally stumbles across Susie's friend, Clarissa (Amanda Michalka). Her boyfriend, Brian (Jake Abel), who mistakenly thinks that his girlfriend is being assaulted, nearly bludgeons Jack to death while Harvey watches from a hiding spot nearby. As Jack recuperates, Lindsey breaks into Harvey's house looking for evidence. Upstairs, she finds a notebook containing a sketch of the den, a lock of Susie's hair, and news articles about Susie's disappearance. Harvey returns home but Lindsey manages to escape and rushes back home to discover that her mother has returned. Not wishing to spoil the happy reunion of her parents, she hides the book from them and instead gives it to her grandmother. Fearful of being caught, Harvey flees, taking the safe with Susie's remains with him.

The realm in Susie's afterlife begins expanding into a larger heaven, and she is greeted by Harvey's other victims. She resists Holly's urging to enter heaven along with the others, claiming she has one final thing to do. Meanwhile, Ruth and Ray are present when Harvey drives up to dispose of the safe at a sinkhole dump site on the Connors' property. Susie returns to Earth and enters Ruth's body, causing Ruth to faint. Ray rushes to Ruth's aid only to realize she has become Susie. They share a kiss, completing Susie's last wish, and she returns to Heaven, as Harvey drives away. Meanwhile, the safe is seen tumbling down the sinkhole before disappearing into the muddy water.

Sometime later, Harvey meets a young woman outside a diner and offers her a ride, but she rejects him and leaves. A large icicle falls from an overhead branch, hitting Harvey on the shoulder. He loses his balance on the ice and falls backward over a cliff to his death. Time passes, and Susie sees that her family is healing, which Susie refers to as "the lovely bones" that grew around her absence. As the film concludes, Susie finally enters Heaven, telling the audience: "My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was 14 years old when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. I was here for a moment and then I was gone. I wish you all a long and happy life."

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2010-01-15 : United States of America

DVD : 2010-04-20