The Lovely Bones
As the international bestselling novel by Alice Sebold finally unraveled itself in front of my eyes, and as a long time fan I have greatly anticipated the moment. To see this beloved book come to life, having the chance to watch this film made my heart sing in words that only a true fan could appreciate.
With a packed out theatre proving how immensely popular this story was, as well as a star cast of Susan Sarandon, Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg as her the grieving family of a murdered girl, director Peter Jackson once again showed us his endless skill and talent by bringing our dog eared books to life in a way that only a Peter Jackson film could – as a truly magical wonderland.
This is the story of the tragedy of Susie Salmon (played by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan) as young murder victim coming to terms that she has been killed by someone in her community and her personal journey she endeavors from earth to the in-between and finally onto heaven.
I felt the families’ anxiety waiting for the inevitable news, of a family member who is missing is every family’s worst fear and Mark Wahlberg personified a father whose undying love and devotion carried on from life and continued on after death. As Susie watches her family and close friends grieve, she too deals with her own issues of concealment, patience, a lost love and closure.
The cinematography of the In-Between was powerful; maybe as we have dreamt it ourselves in the world of dreams, where spirits go to heal and to love; where loved ones, animals and murder victims seek closure and forgiveness and gave me a feeling of comfort. As did the contrasting beauty of the bright and cold corn field in comparison to the dark and smelly underground hatch where Susie ultimately paid the highest price for trusting a friend.
I squirmed in my seat as Stanley Tucci who played the serial killer George Harvey oozed evil as he pounced on his young and defenseless victim in such a sinister way.
You could feel his breath on your face, wishing Susie had not stopped to be polite but to continue home where she would be safe and warm – rather than her life been taken away so brutally from her family and friends as she was raped and murdered and then carefully hidden from those who demanded justice.
Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan and Mark Walhberg all deserve commendation for their portrayals in this film – each captures the nuances of their characters and channel such emotion that it’s inevitable that you’re carried along by their performances during the film’s duration.
Although gripping yet enchanting, the carefully chosen directed music softened the mood of the horror and sadness that brings the whole tragedy into a beautiful light of blossoming love and eternal devotion.
I felt that Jackson was true to his craft in this adaption, to direct the film as he saw fit and understood how Sebold would approve.
I fell in love before with the characters as I had read the book previously. But I felt myself falling in love again in a different sense, with passion, the love the family and friends upheld for each other, the determination in seeking justice for a sister, daughter, young love and friend were overwhelming.
Ultimately some fans who passionately loved this book will see some similarities with the film but may be disappointed as other plot points from the book were not carried over, but overall the adaptation of a much loved classic is hard to fault in its transition to the big screen.
This film made me laugh; cry, made me scared stiff and joyful in equal measures – it will open up your heart with sadness and close it with love.
Reviewed by: Leanne Meikle
Releases: 26th December 2009
Rating: [M] Contains violence
Running time: 135 minutes
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci & Saoirse Ronan
Director: Peter Jackson