Review: The Lovely Bones

I had the opportunity to screen “The Lovely Bones” last night and a day later I’m still not sure how I feel about it. For starters, I had high expectations for this film.   Maybe it’s because I am in the middle of reading the book or maybe it was the fact that Academy Award winning director Peter Jackson was at the helm, whatever the reason, the expectations were not met. I didn’t hate the film but I didn’t love it either.

“The Lovely Bones” tells the story of Susie Salmon, a young girl who is murdered by her creepy next door neighbor Mr. Harvey, portrayed by Stanley Tucci.  After Susie is murdered, she winds up in the “in between” and attempts to help her family find the perpetrator.  Mark Wahlberg and Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz portray Mr. & Mrs. Salmon, and Susan Sarandon gives a solid performance as Susie’s grandmother.

Starting off on a good note, Saoirse  Ronan gives an amazing performance as Susie Salmon. Although the main character elements of Susie from the book were striped down, Ronan still manages to make the best of what’s given to her.  This goes for Weisz and Wahlberg as well.  Rachel Weisz’s talent is not maximized to its full potential, as her character in the film, is not as complex as her character in the book. In my opinion, Mrs. Salmon was one of the most meaningful character’s from the book, yet in the film her  role is very minimal. Also, an almost unrecognizable Stanley Tucci gives an exceptional performance as Mr. Harvey, bringing grace and  dignity to such a dark role.

Clearly the talent wasn’t the issue in “The Lovely Bones”, the direction was. Peter Jackson took something that should have been incredibly simple and made it into something that wasn’t.  The main problem, too much CGI and not enough character development. If I wanted in your face CGI, I would have paid to see “Avatar” again.

In the book, every single one of the characters mattered yet Jackson’s adaptation made them only mere supporting roles to his CGI obsession. The audience was never given the chance to connect with the characters because the point of view from CGI heaven to reality, was always so quick.  It was almost as if Peter Jackson forgot the most important element of this film, the human element. And to make matters worse, the overindulgence of special effects weren’t even that great!

If I had to make a recommendation for those who have read the book, skip the film because you will be very disappointed and underwhelmed.  And for those of you who haven’t read the book, you may be underwhelmed too.

My Grade: 6/10



  1. Weekend Box Office: January 8-10, 2010 « The Real Reel - January 10, 2010

    […] For next weekend:  “The Book of Eli”, “The Spy Next Door” and the expanded release of “The Lovely Bones“. […]

  2. Preparing for Hollywood’s Biggest Night! « The Real Reel - March 6, 2010

    […] The Lovely Bones […]

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