The Lovely Bones

When I heard that The Lovely Bones was being made into a film, I was thrilled.  The original material, written by Alice Sebold, was amazing.  It was a brilliant story, filled with strong characters and evoked many emotional reactions from the reader. 

The story revolves around the brutal murder of 14-year old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan).  On her way home from school she is approached by Mr. Harvey, a neighbor (Stanley Tucci) who tricks her into believing that he has something interesting to show her.  By the time she realizes that he has ulterior motives, it’s too late and he becomes the last person she ever speaks to again.

Determined to find out who killed his daughter, Jack Salmon (Mark Wahlberg) keeps in constant contact with the officer on the case.  He even takes matters into his own hands and tries to research a variety of people in his neighborhood.  His dedication to justice has an adverse affect on his marriage and his wife, Abigail (Rachel Weisz), leaves him and her other two children.

Stuck in an in between world, Susie watches her family and tries to aid them, unconsciously, in finding the real killer.  As the Salmon family slowly falls apart emotionally and physically, it appears that another family member could be the one to find the answers to Susie’s murder.

It disappoints me to say that director Peter Jackson failed to capture the feeling that Sebold was able to deliver with her words.  The story moved at a snail’s pace and was quite boring.  I felt that Jackson tried to turn the story into something it wasn’t.  His use of fantasy elements (CGI) for the scenes involving Susie were distracting and apart from one scene at the end, very unnatural looking.

Tucci was good as the evil Mr. Harvey; but apart from a hair piece, fake teeth and a weird laugh, he wasn’t as outstanding as I thought he’d be.  After seeing him in this role, I can’t say that his Oscar nomination was deserved.  The other performances, while decent, just did not have a cohesive feel to me.  The characters weren’t fleshed out enough and I felt as though I was watching a group of performances separately as opposed to one group project.

The book brought me to tears, but the film brought me to yawns.  I saw a bit more action and energy towards the end of the film, but that only lasted for a short period of time.  This movie could have been phenomenal, but it was just a huge miss in the end.

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