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The Lovely Bones (2009)

2009 film adaptation of the novel of the same name, directed by Peter Jackson.

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The Lovely Bones - 2009

  • Apr 6, 2011
Pros: Stanley Tucci, without a doubt

Cons: not enough to really dis it

The Bottom Line:
"I'd like to think it's all_a_dream
Someone please come and rescue me
Don't want to see my_family_torn
Left me with a soul without my lovely bones"
~Josh Todd

The Lovely Bones, directed by Peter Jackson, was a surreal trip, similar to What Dreams May Come, but not nearly as good.   The movie was adapted from the novel by Alice Sebold, but I have not read the book.  It was nominated for 28 awards, winning seven, carrying a PC-13 rating for mature material, disturbing content and images, and language.

The story:
Susie Salmon [like the fish, as she always says] is a teen, beginning to develop interest in things other than Barbie dolls.   The movie opens in narrative form, from Susie, explaining her short stay on this Earth and the things she remembers and holds dear.   The narrative is repeated often throughout the film.   Little Susie, taken with her first romance, is lured to her death by a neighbor.   This happens early in the film, we know the culprit but this isn't really about her murder.

Instead we watch Susie as she views her family after her death.  She isn't really in Heaven, she is in that stage "between", because she is still dealing not only with her death but also the ramifications that followed.   We watch her family grow, grow apart, and progress, all while Susie is in this place that allows her to intervene but not interrupt, totally, the consequences that followed her death.

Susie is able, through will or just stubbornness, to reach out to her father who is suffering and transmit her feelings about her killer.  It isn't long before Jack, the father, has his suspicions about the perpetrator, along with Susie's younger sister, Lindsay.   Both go about their own way of investigation, both coming to the same conclusion.

In the meantime, the mother, Abigail, no longer able to deal with her daughters death, has moved out and moved on.   Replacing her is her out-of-control mother, Lynn, who has a drinking problem on top of several other issues. 

Susie watches her young sister mature and fall in love and she keeps tabs on the guy she had her eye on as well.   All the while she languishes in this in-between place, waiting for her own salvation and the opportunity to move on herself.

Will vengeance or love win out?

The actors:
Saoirse Ronan did an impressive characterization of the lost Susie Salmon.   Since she had little time on screen with her family before her death, it was interesting to watch her interact with them afterwards.   For such a young girl she did a very creditable performance.

Her father, Jack, was played by Mark Wahlberg.   He portrayed all the angst, aching, and longing a parent would convey after the death of a child.   He continued that through with his determination to bring her killer to justice.

Susan Sarandon played an over-the-top grandma, Lynn.  Between her drinking and smoking and outlandish ideals and remarks, I enjoyed her completely.   Rachel Weisz played mother, Abigail.   As broken as Jack, she expressed her grief in separation.

However the true star of the movie was Stanley Tucci as the demented killer, George.  He was as evil as you would expect even while showing a completely different persona otherwise.   A despicable person, his reasoning was never explained, you felt just nasty watching him on screen.

Overall impression:
Certainly the vistas were different.  All that otherworldly stuff, not unexpected from a Jackson movie.   He chose to portray perhaps the worst type of monster in this film, the human.   Humans, as far as I have been able to ascertain, are the only species that kill for no reason at all.   I much prefer a big, hairy ape to the monster of the human kind. 

However, as pretty as the pictures sometimes were, there was also an overlying darkness to the film ... murders aside.   The only time I felt really emotionally connected to the film was when we started on the "George" hunt.   What could have developed during Susie's emotional stand between life and Heaven fell short on delivery.   Perhaps if this had been an older character instead of a teen, we might have had something to hold on to, but her memories were short lived and she wasn't as distraught as one would expect under the circumstances.

Not to say this was a bad movie.  For the most part it was entertaining and held your interest.   There were some slow moments and at times the story didn't seem to fully connect, but otherwise it was well acted and delivered the goods it promised.


thanks to Mona for adding this to the database for me :)


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April 19, 2011
Hi, Susi, nice touch thanking Mona. :)
April 22, 2011
More The Lovely Bones (2009 movie) reviews
review by . January 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****       I thought that perhaps I would go back and give Peter Jackson's latest film, "The Lovely Bones", a second chance. I thought that maybe it would be better the second time around. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I would give it my full attention. Upon finishing the film, I kind of had to wonder why the hell I revisited it. I didn't like it at first, and strangely enough, I still don't like it. I'm a Peter Jackson supporter by all means. I liked …
review by . January 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
In 2002, a woman named Alice Sebold wrote a book called The Lovely Bones.  It was well known for how it began so tragically and ended on such an uplifting note.  The book has gone on to be an acclaimed classic, selling over ten million worldwide.  The movie had a lot to live up to in that case.  And I'd like to tell The Lovely Bones is a wonderful movie filled with heart and joy.  Instead it's actually more like getting stabbed to death without dying.  You just WISH …
review by . January 14, 2010
Did Peter Jackson even read The Lovely Bones?
 I would not have thought that Peter Jackson, the director of the infamous Lord of the Rings trilogy (in case you didn’t know), would ever be a horrible choice to adapt a cherished novel to the big screen.  Going forward, I will not be so naïve.  In it’s original form, The Lovely Bones, as delicately told by author, Alice Sebold, is a shockingly honest account of what one seemingly happy family endures after the death of their eldest daughter.  Its scope reaches …
Quick Tip by . January 04, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Awful. But what finally ultimately ruined it was the total misuse of the final song (This Mortal Coil's Song to the Siren is not a happy song, it is the most powerful love-tease song in English; inappropriate doesn't begin to cover it).
review by . April 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Fails As A Study of Emotional Burden
   Mainstream fans would remember Pater Jackson for his critically acclaimed “Lord of the Rings Trilogy” and “King Kong” while old-school horror fans may remember him for “Dead Alive”. It would only be natural to have high expectations for any Peter Jackson directed film because well…he does have a good resume. Well, Jackson has made successes with movies about monsters, beasts and even blood and gore; this time around, Jackson tries his hand …
review by . April 19, 2011
   Death is a funny thing. Well, not really. I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes the way people, living people, think about death may not leave you with the best taste in your mouth for what your thoughts might be on the subject. I do not mean this in a suicidal way, but from a creative stand point. Take film and literature. Storytellers in both mediums have been telling various stories about life and death for hundreds of years. We have stories about the after life, stories …
review by . January 16, 2010
Good IF you haven't read the book
As the story opens, the narrator, 14-year old Susie, tells us she was murdered. We then see a cringe-worthy scene (that doesn't actually show any violence) and Susie leaves earth for "the in-between;" a nice place, but not quite heaven. She watches her family as they cope with her death and the years pass.       I liked the book a lot, which is odd considering it's about a girl who is horrifically killed by a pervert. Except for that one scene, however, the book was …
review by . March 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Death is a funny thing. Well, not really. I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes the way people, living people, think about death may not leave you with the best taste in your mouth for what your thoughts might be on the subject. I do not mean this in a suicidal way, but from a creative stand point. Take film and literature. Storytellers in both mediums have been telling various stories about life and death for hundreds of years. We have stories about the after life, stories about …
review by . May 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
THE LOVELY BONES is a quiet novel about horrendous events described eloquently and with spiritual insights by author Alice Sebold. While the book, being a rather introspective version of the murder of a young lass, would be difficult to translate to film, Peter Jackson (with a screenplay adaptation by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Jackson himself) should call this version an idea inspired by Sebold's book. If desiring a reenactment of the novel is the viewer's desire, skip this film, but if simply …
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
A fairly good adaptation of a brilliant novel. Read the book first.
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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


The Lovely Bones is a 2009 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Alice Sebold. The film was directed by Peter Jackson and stars Saoirse Ronan as the protagonist Susie Salmon along with Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as her parents, Jack and Abigail Salmon respectively.

Jackson and his producer partners acquired the rights independently and developed a script on their own, later selling it to DreamWorks. Production began in October 2007 in New Zealand and Pennsylvania. Paramount became a sole distributor a year later when they split with DreamWorks. The film's trailer was released on August 4, 2009.


Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl who is murdered in the first chapter, and narrates the novel from heaven.
Jack Salmon, her father, who works for an insurance agency in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.
Abigail Salmon, her mother, whose growing family frustrates her youthful dreams and later has an affair with Detective Len Fenerman.
Lindsey Salmon, Susie's sister, a year younger than she is, thought of as the smartest.
Buckley Salmon, Susie's brother, is ten years younger than she is. His unplanned birth forced Abigail to cancel her plans for a teaching career. He sometimes sees Susie while she watches him in her heaven.
Grandma Lynn, Abigail's mother, an eccentric alcoholic who comes to live with her son-in-law and grandchildren after her daughter leaves.
George Harvey, the ...
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Director: Peter Jackson
DVD Release Date: April 20, 2010
Runtime: 136 minutes
Studio: Paramount
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