The Lovely Bones: movie review

Saturday, January 16, 2010

This is a review for the movie adaptation. If you're interested, I have a book review for it too over here, which I wrote about 2 years ago.

Sentimental, sinister, fantasy, science-fiction, mystery, thriller, (horror?) are all the words I can think of to describe the story of The Lovely Bones. The book version achieved worldwide success because the combination of all of those worked so well and seemed effortless. In the movie, these mismatched and sometimes, even odd elements come back to bring out a story that can be viewed either to be a hit or a miss.

First of all, I liked the movie. It's not one of my favorites, but I am definitely on the 'i liked it' side of the spectrum.

In my opinion though, the best part about the film is casting Saoirse Ronan, the actress who played such an unforgettable role in Atonement, as the main character, Susie Salmon. I think she was definitely the best element in the movie. Never did her acting seem too over the top, cliche, or juvenile. She just brought naturalness and radiance to her part, that made me really feel for her character so much more.
Another actor I can say that really made the film also, is Stanley Tucci, who played the murderer. If you have seen the movie, you know exactly what I mean. The way he portrayed the character of Mr. Harvey was crazy-awesome.
Unfortunately, this movie has gotten a lot of negative reviews. But I usually don't rely on critic reviews or overly critical fan reviews anyway. I can be critical, but I also try to take a movie (or a book) as it is.
I do understand the most common reasons though why a lot of people don't understand or like this movie. Mostly maybe because of how the directors/producers made it such a 'fantasy-ish' movie. A huge example that had this aspect is Susie's afterlife. To some, it might appear too contrived, or too corny/sappy. Also, another reason why people tend to not like this could also be because the movie was extremely weird, creepy, and startling all at the same time! To say it was disturbing is almost an understatement. It wasn't so much that it showed scenes of violence and gore, because those aspects were actually kept to a mininum. What was more grotesque was the thought of those happening, and letting your own imagination wander. (My friends and I actually had a hard time walking back to our car because of the afterthought, go figure)

As predicted, the movie is depressing simply because the whole story surrounds the murder of a young girl. But personally, although it was definitely a sad story, it was also in a way very uplifting. In fact, it actually left me feeling hopeful instead. Mostly, it was just heartrendingly bittersweet.

I also have to add that the ending quote pretty much summed up everything. Understanding this quote somehow puts a touch of "okay-ness" to the injustice as well as the unfound bodies. I really wish people paid more attention to hearing it. hehe.

So I recommend this to people who:
1. have read the book (They changed some stuff, but I've come to accept that, that's how it will always be in movie adaptations)
2. like fantastical/sci-fi, drama, thriller all at the same time
3. don't have too much expectations
4. would like a movie, without judging it based on unbiased opinions
5. like Saoirse Ronan as well as Stanley Tucci

But maybe think twice if:
1. you are easily scared/disturbed/creeped out (a.k.a me, but I still liked it anyway)
2. if you do not believe there is a heaven, a hell, and in between. Arguably, this might be not a good movie to watch as it is heavily drawn towards those particular beliefs.

"There are the physical bones of our existence, which may or may not be found, and then there are the petrified emotions that linger in the hearts of those we’ve loved. These intangible proofs of our being are what make life meaningful, regardless of how old we become or how we die." - Susie Salmon


  1. this is a good review for ordinary movie-goers! it's just straight-forward. i love that it's not too critical and technical compared to other reviews.

  2. you got yourself a new subscriber! this is a great blog!

  3. Glad to hear you recommend it to a fellow reader of the book. Now I'll have to go see it, or at least rent it when it comes out :)

  4. I read The Lovely Bones when I was in high school. I had a hard time reading it, I think the topic was too difficult for me. I would love to reread it sometime. I'll have to check the movie out.

  5. @delgal reviews: They did change a lot of stuff in the book, and the movie brings a different take on it. but I still liked it. I've come to realize that that's how it always will be in movie adaptations. :)

  6. I thought this was a good adaptation of the book. I am on the liking it side of the spectrum as well.

  7. @jehara, nice to know you liked it as well! :) I've been hearing a lot of people who didn't.