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Director Peter Jackson takes a personal, risky leap in his direction of the film version of Alice Sebold's bestselling novelThe Lovely Bones. Yet the leap pays off, in emotional depth and riveting visuals that transport the viewer to other worlds--even ones the viewer may not want to visit.The Lovely Bonesis lofted by its star-making performance by the young Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), who plays Susie Salmon, the 14-year-old girl who is murdered early in the film, and who narrates the action from her "in-between place" after dying but before going to heaven. Ronan makes Susie as earthy and awkward as any young teen, yet her presence, and her gorgeous pale eyes, remind viewers that she's otherworldly too.The Lovely Bonestakes some big departures from the book, as many critics have pointed out, but it works well on its own merits. The drama involves how (even whether) Susie's family will recover after her ghastly murder, and what happens to her killer and the futile-seeming search for justice and closure. The entire cast is stellar, including Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as Susie's nearly destroyed parents; the composed young New Zealand actress Rose McIver, who plays Susie's younger sister, whom Susie watches grow up to be the young woman that Susie will never get to be; and Susan Sarandon, the boozy, wisecracking grandmother who may or may not be able to help keep the family from splintering into a million pieces. The other true standout is Stanley Tucci, almost unrecognizable as the quiet, creepy neighbor who kills Susie, obsessing over every detail and perhaps having left a whole trail of gruesome murders in his shambling wake. Jackson's deft direction keeps the mourning humans moving along believably, numbly, and gives breathtaking life to the afterlife, in scenes of fantasy and dread that recall hisHeavenly Creatures. The film is rated PG-13 but is not recommended for younger teenagers because of its intense subject matter, though handled delicately. --A.T. Hurley

Stills from The Lovely Bones (Click for larger image)

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CastStanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg, Saoirse Ronan
DirectorPeter Jackson
Genre:  Drama
DVD Release Date:  April 20, 2010
Runtime:  136 minutes
Studio:  Paramount
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review by . January 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
THE LOVELY BONES isn't really a bad movie, exactly. It's not even fair to say that it's a disappointment (although I had certainly hoped to be moved more by it), because as I think back on my feelings after reading the book, there were flaws aplenty there as well. Unfortunately, the flaws seem more obvious on screen and the strengths fade somewhat to the background.    Set in the 1970's, THE LOVELY BONES introduces us to the Salmon family. Jack, the father (Mark Wahlberg) is …
The Lovely Bones (Two-Disc Special Edition) (2009)
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The Lovely Bones (2009)

2009 film adaptation of the novel of the same name, directed

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