Lovely Bones

Lovely Bones

3.9 35
Director: Peter Jackson

Cast: Peter Jackson, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon


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Heavenly Creatures director Peter Jackson teams with longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens to adapt author Alice Sebold's best-selling novel concerning a murdered young girl who watches from heaven as her family attempts to cope with their devastating loss, and tracks her killer as he stealthily covers his tracks and prepares to claim his next…  See more details below


Heavenly Creatures director Peter Jackson teams with longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens to adapt author Alice Sebold's best-selling novel concerning a murdered young girl who watches from heaven as her family attempts to cope with their devastating loss, and tracks her killer as he stealthily covers his tracks and prepares to claim his next victim.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Peter Jackson fans hoping that the visionary director would recapture the magic that made Heavenly Creatures an instant classic are best advised to put their expectations in check before watching his adaptation of Alice Sebold's best-seller. However, while this gorgeously surreal drama never quite soars to the emotionally delirious heights of the film that established Jackson as a "serious" director, it does have some interesting things to say about how we all deal with grief in different ways, and offers a beautiful and unique vision of the afterworld. Fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is just experiencing the pangs of first love when she's viciously murdered by her neighbor Mr. Harvey (Stanley Tucci), a predatory wolf with a deceptively placid and normal exterior. As her family's relationships slowly begin to deteriorate while they struggle to make sense of their loss, Susie bravely attempts to find her footing in the hereafter. Meanwhile, down on earth, Mr. Harvey is feeling confident that he's covered his tracks well enough to get away with the crime, and begins honing in on his next victim -- Susie's younger sister, Lindsey (Rose McIver), who's beginning to suspect that he's not the harmless suburbanite he portrays himself to be. Adapting The Lovely Bones for the screen presents a sizable challenge; striking just the right balance between the fantastic and the tragic is no simple task, especially when you're dealing with a topic as sensitive as the murder of a young child and her attempts to process what's happened to her from another dimensional plane. Given his previous success with both the aforementioned Heavenly Creatures and the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, it certainly would have seemed that Jackson was the ideal man for the job, though not everything that he and fellow screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens try to accomplish here works. There's a distinct emotional honesty in both the screenplay and the performances -- especially that of relative newcomer Ronan, who portrays her character's conflicting senses of wonder and loss with remarkable grace -- though it's the awkward balance of events in the two separate planes of reality that ultimately prevents the film from being entirely effective. The main problem is that Jackson shifts his focus to special effects when he should have been concentrating on character, a misstep that ultimately distracts from the story rather than enhancing it. By the time Lindsey's suspicions lead her directly into the monster's lair, the screenwriters don't seem sure whether they want to tell a tale of grief with a twist of magic realism, or a suburban suspense yarn detailing the quest to find a killer. But just because The Lovely Bones is flawed doesn't make it a failure. Anyone who has suffered a tragic loss in the family knows that we each processes grief in our own way, and the time we spend with the Salmons following Susie's untimely death reveals that despite sporting an irregular beat, the film's heart is still in the right place. It's in these scenes that Mark Wahlberg gets to shine as each member of his family withdraws into their own private sorrows, but it's ultimately Susan Sarandon who steals the show. Her portrayal of the boozy, free-spirited grandmother who manages to offer poignant insight even while raiding the cabinets for cooking sherry imbues the film with a sense of levity that keeps it from becoming overly maudlin, and gives us an idea of where Susie's younger sister, Lindsey, gets her strength from. Tucci, all squirrelly cheeks and bad comb-over, is downright chilling in the role of the deceptively middling neighbor with a compulsion for murder. Still, it's young Ronan who shoulders most of the story's dramatic weight; her quest for understanding in the afterworld affords us the rare opportunity to peer into the thoughts of an unusually perceptive young girl who's struggling to balance her hunger for justice with the grief that serves as her spiritual anchor to another life. If there's one thing The Lovely Bones has in abundance, it's ambition -- to tell a story that deals with a powerful universal truth, to stimulate our sense of wonder by dazzling us with vivid special effects, and to translate an author's work to the screen without losing the essence of her story. Alas, ambition and restraint are two opposing forces that are difficult to synthesize, and the The Lovely Bones is an example of a film where a little restraint would have gone a long way. Of course, the same could have been said about Jackson's previous film, the hulking, unwieldy remake of King Kong, and anyone familiar with Jackson's early work will immediately contest that it's precisely the director's lack thereof that helped to launch his career in the first place. Maturity and restraint may well go hand in hand for aging filmmakers such as Jackson, though it's the director's keen eye for sumptuous visuals and unique approach to characterization that keeps his loyal fans coming back for more. The Lovely Bones has both of those things in abundance; it simply lacks the connective tissue required to bring them together as a cohesive whole.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Dreamworks Video
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mark Wahlberg Actor,Jack Salmon
Rachel Weisz Actor,Abigail Salmon
Susan Sarandon Actor,Grandma Lynn
Stanley Tucci Actor,George Harvey
Michael Imperioli Actor,Len Fenerman
Saoirse Ronan Susie Salmon
Rose McIver Lindsey Salmon
Christian Ashdale Buckley Salmon
Reece Ritchie Ray Singh

Technical Credits
Peter Jackson Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Scott Boland Casting
Philippa Boyens Co-producer,Screenwriter
Victoria Burrows Casting
Jules Cook Art Director
Carolynne Cunningham Producer
Brian Eno Score Composer
Jina Jay Casting
Ken Kamins Executive Producer
Avy Kaufman Casting
Andrew Lesnie Cinematographer
Liz Mullane Casting
Jabez Olssen Editor
Aimee Peyronnet Producer
Tessa Ross Executive Producer
Naomi Shohan Production Designer
Chris Shriver Art Director
Steven Spielberg Executive Producer
Nancy Steiner Costumes/Costume Designer
Fran Walsh Producer,Screenwriter
Jim Wilson Executive Producer
James Wilson Executive Producer

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The Lovely Bones 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
MaryContrary More than 1 year ago
From the moment I picked up "The Lovely Bones" I was unable to stop reading it. While books that become movies seldom live up to what we perceive in our own imagination, this movie took so many twists and turns from the author's original message, that it was heartbreaking. Visual effects were the greatest strength, which I expected from the director as it is his forte but the script turned into a Lifetime Movie. Part "Ghost Whisperer" part "Criminal Minds" with a dash of "Medium" it fell so short, as the movie makers decided to avoid the touching spiritual messages of grief and letting go and focused on getting the bad guy. Please don't think I didn't notice that Stanley Tucci was outstanding as the monster or that Susan Sarandon was deliciously decadent as a 70's liberated grandma and even Mark Wahlberg touched me with his parental angst. But the book and all it's depth and beauty were traded for something more marketable at the box office for the masses. I suppose that's what happens to many but this book should have been left untouched and unspoiled. On the other hand, if you didn't read the book and are a fan of TV crime dramas - and I am, it may work for you.
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DIXIEGIRL45 More than 1 year ago
I LOVED THIS FILM! It is so unique and beautifully directed by Peter Jackson. Completely different than his amazing LORD OF THE RINGS series. Visually stunning and the acting is off the charts. The young girl is astounding and Susan Sarandon steals the film in an amazing turn of comic relief. I don't know why the Academy didn't embrace this film more (although Stanley Tucci was nominated for best Supporting Actor for his dark portrayal of the creepy neighbor) I really love how the director chose NOT to show us the actual violence - it made it so much more accessible to a wider audience I think. This movie will surprise you - it certainly did me - and I am an AVID movie fan of many genres. The art direction and editing deserve nominations also. I have seen it twice and can't wait to watch it again. THIS IS A TERRIFIC FILM! BRAVO PETER JACKSON - AGAIN!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've seen this movie, and let me tell you- it is pretty thrilling! Stanley Tucci does a fantastic job as the weird, murderous neighbor to the point where you almost think that he could be like that in real life. The movie begins with Susie Salmon's normal, everyday life as a 14 year old girl, which quickly takes a turn for the worse when she is murdered by her neighbor Mr. Harvey. After realizing that she's been murdered- she's whisked away to the in-between where she's being kept until she's ready to go onto heaven. Meanwhile, on Earth her family is having a hard time coping with her death, and they can't quite put their finger on who would do something to Susie. The whole movie has some parts that would be unsuitable for children under the age of at least 14. And this movie isn't for the weak of heart- many lives are taken by the hands of Harvey, the neighbor. There are parts that I found difficult to watch due to the powerful and believable performance by Stanley Tucci, who truly is the kind of creepy men we would normally keep our kids away from. Make sure to prepare yourself when you're planning on watching this- some parts are shocking, but it also has its tender moments that make the whole movie worthwhile.
VampiresRock924 More than 1 year ago
This is a great movie and it teaches a lesson too-if your gut instinct says run, do it. The actors did a great job, and the cgi effects were really cool. I enjoyed this movie very much. This movie will have you close to tears, full of anger, and on the edge of your seat.
Blazer1 More than 1 year ago
Like most movies made from a book the book was so much better. I read the book first and then watched the movie. I really enjoyed the book, it is one of my favorites. The movie just did not compare.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't get me wrong it is a good movie for teens and young adults but unfortunately not for older adults (epecially if you have read the book prior to viewing the movie). Half the book is missing and some parts are out of order or in a whole different setting than in the book. But this is a good movie for a younger generation but not quite for children.
GinaLynn More than 1 year ago
Why does Hollywood do this? Why do they take the most amazing, provocative, well written books and butcher them until they're unrecognizable? I suppose that I should know better than to think that I'm going to like the movie AFTER I've read the book, but I never learn. I think I thought that since I love the cast, the story would be good as well. In fairness - Saiorse Ronan, Mark Walberg, Rachel Weisz, and Stanley Tucci did a very good job - it was the writers in charge of the adaptation that are to blame. Maybe keeping the details of the story - particularly of her kidnapping and the events leading up to her death were too much for a movie audience. But we also lost a lot of what happened between her parents, and the depth of the love that her father felt for her. Maybe the lesson is just the same as it always is - if you love the book, then SKIP THE MOVIE. (I'm also recomending "My Sister's Keeper" for the very same reason - that butchering was even worse!)
wheeze More than 1 year ago
I read The Lovely Bones, but had a hard time getting into it. The movie puts everything ito prespective. It's a movie that makes you think. You cant just sit there and pretend to watch, you have to pay attention, and that what I love. To be honest, the visual effects are a bit much. You can tell they are done by a computer. They seem far fetched to me, especially the end and what happens to her killer. You can tell it was computer generated. All and all, an amazing story. I suggest it to everyone I met, although it is definitely not suited for younger children.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine having to face the most devastating event of your life, but for a moment you are given a glimpse of the events that are unfolding in your life not through your eyes but the eyes of the person that you have loved and lost in this tragic event. While most people will delve into this, thinking it is a murder mystery, actually, it is a story of closure. A very powerful one. That's something everyone needs in their lives. If you need forgiveness and closure, in your life, I'd recommend a great book, "When God Stopped Keeping Score." Check it out.
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