PG Cooper Film Club Review: The Lovely Bones

Posted: September 11, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Film Club Reviews, PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

The Lovely Bones is the kind of film that sounds awesome on paper. Peter Jackson is a great director who proved with the Lord of the Rings trilogy that he can create effects and worlds better than anyone. The film also has a great cast, led by the talented young actress Saoirse Ronan, and the film was an adaptation of a best selling novel. Yet when the film came out, the reviews were very mixed. Watching the film, it’s easy to see why.

Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is a teenage girl living in Pennsylvania with her middle class family, with her parents Jack and Abigail (Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz) and her brother and sister. One day after school, Susie is murdered by a local psychopath named George Harvey (Stanley Tucci). Susie then exists in a sort of in between of life and heaven, unable to progress to the next level until she moves on. This is set up against the family struggling with Susie’s death, with Jack becoming obsessed with his daughter’s murder.

The story cuts between the family on Earth and Susie in the afterlife. The stories don’t really work together and aren’t overly compelling on their own. I like the ideas in the film, but parts of the story drag on and on with very little actually happening. The message of the film, that one must move on past the death of a loved one, is realized early, leaving the story to meander on after that. The film is also extremely uneven, jumping from high school type drama, to relentlessly dark material, to wacky comedy, to whimsical catharsis way too much. The tone is all over the place. Certain musical choices also make certain scenes emotionally confusing for the viewer.

The Lovely Bones is saved by great visuals, especially a fun montage in the afterlife. The cast is also pretty good, with Ronan and Tucci really shining. The theme of the film is one I find inherently interesting, and certain scenes are great. Overall, specific elements work well enough that the film can be moderately enjoyed, but only moderately.

Rating: C

  1. Totally agree with your review. It is a really dark and interesting concept for a film but it just doesn’t deliver. Apparently the book is miles better although i’ve not read it myself.

  2. Ipodman says:

    I’ve been wanting to catch this film for so long I had forgotten about it… maybe when I find it in the discount bin…

  3. Nice review that I agree with. I remember watching this and feeling a little let down at the end of it. Maybe I expected too much, but I just felt the actual film fell short of meeting the potential of the concept.

  4. CMrok93 says:

    Good review PG. There’s a strong story to be had here and some of the performances do work, but overall, something just was not clicking. I think Jackson tried a bit too hard to be all dreamy and artsy with his direction and it sort of becomes a bore after awhile. Tucci was freaky as hell though.

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