Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Film Review: THE LOVELY BONES (2009) - Revisited

Director: Peter Jackson
Running time: 135 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

UK Release date: 19th February 2010

Watched on DVD Wednesday 24th November 2010.


I have now read the book by Alice Sebold, with the same title, on which this film is based, and so I thought I’d give it a second viewing. In my first review I looked at the film as a stand-alone piece of work, now, having read the book, will I see it differently? Here’s a brief summary first before I give you my thoughts (summary haters please wait in the ‘in-between’ while I write the next paragraph… you can re-join the group afterwards).

NOTE: This is as depicted in the film:
Susie Salmon was fourteen when she was murdered on December 6th 1973; she has never been kissed and will never grow up. Her body is never found, but her consciousness goes to a place known as ‘the in-between’, where she watches as her family try to come to terms with her loss and also try to discover what happened to her. Her father, Jack, becomes so obsessed with finding out what happened to his daughter that he ends up in hospital having stalked a man into a field only to be beaten up for his trouble. Her mother, Abigail, cannot face it all and has to take some time away from the family. Abigail’s alcoholic mother, Grandma Lynn, comes to stay while she’s away. Her sister, Lindsey, frustrated with the whole situation, focuses her attention on a neighbour, George Harvey, who she is convinced has something to do with Susie’s disappearance. Through it all, Susie watches and tries to steer them in the right direction so that they can move on, and so can she. It’s very difficult to summarise the plot without giving too much away, so I’ll leave it there, I think I told you enough to know what the film is about.

It’s a beautiful film to look at, very clear images and some wonderful production. The time period the film was set was, for me, brought across perfectly, I’m only a few years younger than Susie would have been, and I remember the early 1970’s quite well. I thought the performance from Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon was quite brilliant, she won several nominations and a few awards for the part. I also thought that Stanley Tucci as the creepy neighbour, George Harvey, was also excellent. Decent performances from Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon, Rachel Weisz as Abigail Salmon, Susan Sarandon was woefully underused (IMO) as Grandma Lynn and Rose McIver as Lindsey Salmon.

There has been a lot of discussion about the depiction of ‘the in-between’. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with it; I guess whenever you adapt a book the picture in the reader’s head will seldom match the vision of the director. Now, having read the book I find there are a lot of differences between the book and the film. Some of the changes make the film more coherent, but the book was already out there as a body of work a long time before the film. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good effort by Peter Jackson et al, but I think I’m always going to prefer the book.

But going back to the film, I found it a little too long, but for the first hour it was totally engrossing. The visuals are stunning and there are a couple of great performances. I guess if you haven’t read the book that I can recommend it to you, it’s worth seeing. Now the tough one, if you have read, and loved, the book then maybe don’t see this adaptation… but if you’re feeling brave... Oh, and in case you’re interested, last time I scored it 7.1/10.

My score: 6.4/10

IMDb Page:
Official Site:

1 comment:

Sparky said...

I had heard this film was a bit of a disappointment. Nicely written review.