The Lovely Bones
Like many people, I love THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY. Peter Jackson has proven he has the capability to do anything. I will give anything he directs a shot. THE LOVELY BONES is a great, heart wrenching story that I think under the right care could be a favorite of mine. However, as emotional as it was I felt it missed pulling me over the top. I think Jackson did an OK job putting this film together but even at two and half hours I felt I was shorted on the characters. I wanted to know more.
The story is about a 14-year-old girl named Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) who is murdered by a neighbor (Stanley Tucci). She is watching over her family and killer in an in-between heavenly world, while trying to understand what happened and help her family heal.
The front half of THE LOVELY BONES was very impressive to me. I immediately jumped on board with this family. Unlike other films we get an insight into all the characters and how the murder is affecting them. We get the perspective of the mother and father and how they deal with the loss of their child. We get a little bit of the grandmother (Susan Sarandon) and how she comes to help out the family along with the younger brother and sister. We get the actual murdered girl and how she feels about the situation afterward, which is an incredibly intriguing and rarely seen point of view. But the most interesting side of this story comes from the murderer, George Harvey, played brilliantly by Stanley Tucci. He is nearly unrecognizable in this role. The methodic actions of a serial killer have rarely been seen in such a way as this is portrayed. I hope this doesn’t make me a sick man but I was thoroughly fascinated and stressed out whenever Tucci was on screen, nearly getting away or not get away with his quietly horrific actions.
So now for some of the criticisms. Ironically it’s the same as all my compliments. I was enthralled for the love and dedication the father has searching for his child’s killer. Mark Wahlberg as the father is heart wrenching, and I had more than a few scenes where I was emotionally involved really feeling that I could relate to his character and I don’t even have a daughter. Unfortunately, none of the other family members received the same amount of care and attention. Rachel Weisz as the mother really got the short end of the stick not receiving near enough screen time. And although fine in the role, Susan Sarandon as the grandmother could have been cut completely. So as much as I loved all the characters and how they dealt with the situation, not enough time was spent with each of them to keep the emotional involvement complete.
Although visually stunning, I found myself less interested in the in-between heaven world. I loved how everything that we would see in the real world would be incorporated in this heavenly world but ultimately I wish less time would have been spent there and instead dedicated to the family. There is also some miscasting in some of the 14 year olds, who looked far too old for their parts, specifically Susie’s love interest. This is also the story line that felt a little flat to me.
I really did get involved in this film and the idea of it was enough to get me emotionally invested. But it was at the end where I felt the film could have capitalized on the emotional impact of the story yet seemed to drizzle off. The perspective of the characters was interesting, but in this case the lack of focus kept this film from being great. Please forgive me Peter Jackson.