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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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Lovely Bones... not quite worth sticking around for

  • Apr 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 about those places in between, stories about hell, and some that just leave us scratching our heads. Over the last month, I myself have been considering death and what that experience might be like. I recently finished a book I have been working on, and my main character has to go through that very experience. I have read many versions of what death is like for things like supernatural creatures such as vampires. We of course are in a vampire whirl wind romance at the moment and love reading and watching what it is like for that specific creature to go through, and if we are lucky enough to be shown what their death was like sometimes we can catch a glimps of what the author finds important or interesting about living. At least that seems to be where my thinking currently stands. But what happens when we write about "real people" and death. Murder mysteries, serial killer stories, thrillers, and things of that nature. What happens when we take away the supernatural and fantasy? What are we left with then? Truth -- Unknown....

The Lovely Bones is ultimately the story of a young girl that is murdered, and her time spent in "the in-between" from the time of her death until the point at which she lets go of her earthly ties. I have not read the book and although the story is compelling, I walked out of the theater confused. I couldn't quite figure out what it was I had just watched. I understood the concepts and storylines, but the "in-between" left me with a odd after taste in my mouth that I just couldn't seem to get rid of.

Having a director with such an amazing reputation, I am not sure if it was simply because it did not feel like a "typical" Peter Jackson film, or if because I had not read the novel that there was something missing that the film adaptation just could not grasp. Visually the film was amazing. The "blue horizon" where our main character is telling the story from truly is a place of beauty that would put any haven to shame. However, the merging of the worlds was hard for me to follow. I kept getting distracted by my own wondering thoughts and ideas, that her "in-between" no longer felt realistic for me. Maybe I had gone into the film expecting something, and not having those expectations fulfilled has left me with a sour taste for this film. Or maybe there was just too much for me to feel comfortable with.

The story that takes place in real time and real space was by far my favorite part of the film. You would have edited the entire "heaven" concept out of the story and The Lovely Bones would stand strong on its own two feet. Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, and Stanley Tucci drive the ball out of the park the entire 135 minutes of the film. Even Rose McIver, who plays Lindsay the main character's younger sister, gave a great performance. I could not stop myself from cringing when she took it upon herself to find the proof that the cops had given up on that would finally put away her sister's murderer. And since I do not want to give away too much of the story I will say that the end of the film will leave you with a feeling as though your skin is crawling. But it would not be fair if I were to leave out Saoirse Ronan. She gives a great performance and my heart went out to her each time she appeared on screen. I just would have been happier if the film had kept her naration for her story, but left the film in real time and real space. The "in-between" or heaven that was portrayed for me just did not leave me believing.

All in all, the film was about a 3 out of 5 stars in my opinion. Peter Jackson, you better deliver the next time around.

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April 19, 2011
This made me wonder where Jackson's mind was at... nice review.
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 . 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 . April 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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.   …
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.
About the reviewer
Hannah aka Angry Penguin ()
Ranked #109
I am a film fanatic, constantly watching films new and old. When not watching movies I'm reading YA lit or sci-fi/fantasy novels, or working on completing my own book.      If … more
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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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