The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

(2009)

Best known for his CGI epics (Lord of the Rings, King Kong) and darkly comic splatterfests (Brain Dead, Bad Taste), superstar director Peter Jackson now returns to dramatic subject matter not explored since 1994's Heavenly Creatures.... More

The Lovely Bones is set in Pennsylvania in the 1970s. It tells the story of a young girl, Susie Salmon (Atonement's Saoirse Ronan), who is brutally raped and murdered. She watches the impact of the events on her family, and murderer, from the afterlife. Jackson has assembled an all-star cast to play out the thriller, including Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci.Hide

On Demand, DVD & Blu-Ray

Available from 5 providers

Flicks Review

Peter Jackson’s extravagant adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel doesn’t have quite the emotional impact one might hope for, namely due to the twin narrative strands of heartfelt family bonding and grisly serial killing remaining at odds with each other. Rather than leaving the cinema feeling uplifted, you might be creeped out.... More

The material has Jackson’s fingerprints all over it; bold camera movements, traces of horror and a showman’s gift for staging sequences. Jackson’s penchant for black humour means that psychopathic villain Mr Harvey (Stanley Tucci in “I’m a paedophile” makeup) is the most charismatic character. At times Jackson ratchets up the macabre, particularly effectively in an amazing sequence revealing the resting places of previous murder victims.

But it’s the overly calculated attempt at wringing out drama from the proceedings that feels phoney. Wahlberg and Weisz are given undeveloped roles, while lead character Susie narrates the happenings on earth with cloying earnestness. As it’s his interpretation of the source material, Jackson apes Vincent Ward’s What Dreams May Come in a highly computerised and slightly naff tableau of dreamscapes; part teletubbies, part NZ tourism advertisement.

Brian Eno’s plinkety-plonk keyboard soundtrack is relentless but the inclusion of songs from the ‘70s period is awesome. The Lovely Bones might have benefitted from a lighter touch but kudos to Jackson for trying something on a smaller, more personal, scale. His visually imaginative but emotionally under-developed drama at least strikes a unique tone.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 34 ratings, 35 reviews
Reviewed & Rated by
Your rating & review
Rate / Review this movie

We've come to expect more of the director of BRAINDEAD and those little known Hobbit movies. Visually splendid, yet unengaging, this film version has none of the poer of the original novel. The CGI "heaven" scenes look like Robin Williams' oil painted paradise in WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (another Kiwi directed movie). Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon have little to do. Saoirse Ronan and Stanley Tucci are, as expected, superb and Titirangi-born Rose McIver is great. Sadly... More though, despite a few standout moments (the dread of Tuci's underground lair, the shipwreck of ships in bottles), the overall effect is underwheming - even on repeated viewings. It is a film that is seemingly set on spreading a message of "hope" that transcends death... But somewhere in there, the humanity (oh the humanity!) just gets, well... lost.Hide


BY theresavl wannabe

I read the book twice - the first time I hated it and the second time it grew on me. I was looking forward to seeing the movie, but felt some trepidation after hearing the test audience complain it was gory enough (I've seen Bad Taste - I was expecting the worst, especially of the murder.) I was however, very relieved. The depiction of Susie's heaven was amazingly done, and following the family as they cope (or not) with the murder was very intense. I recommend the movie, although I would... More read the book as well to complete the full picture.Hide


Well i personally thought that the film was pretty lame, and didnt live up to how great the book is . I guess I wish I had read the book after watching the film. The book was much more thrilling and had me hooked from the time I started reading to the end. The film left HUGE chunk's out from the book, which was very dissapointing. Otherwise good visual affect's. Not one of your best PJ. Unfortaunately not a film I would watch again. But see for yourself


This movie is awesome! It has had lot of effort put into this and the actors/actresses are superb! An awesome movie, but very sad! It made me cry! DEFINITELY a five star! Or maybe MORE! More like a TEN star!!


I read the book first which had wonderful depth and told the story beautifully. I think they crucified the book with this movie which was dull, skipped huge chunks of the book and didn't hold my attention. I felt very detatched from this movie, not Peter Jackson's best work...........begs the question "why this movie?" Seems like a half hearted attempt to me


Showing 5 of 35 reviews. See all reviews

The Press Reviews

32% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • I'll be honest, I'm in two minds about this one, I enjoyed the movie and some sections were classic Peter Jackson, but I was left feeling it could have been so much more. Full Review

  • It's fair to say that this is a quality bit of work. Full Review

  • Like “The Lord Of The Rings,” The Lovely Bones does a fantastic job with revered, complex source material. As terrific on terra firma as it is audacious in its astral plane, it is doubtful we’ll see a more imaginative, courageous film in 2010. Full Review

  • Jackson and his team tell a fundamentally different story. It's one that is not without its tension, humor and compelling details. But it's also a simpler, more button-pushing tale that misses the joy and heartbreak of the original. Full Review

  • All this is conveyed in the remarkable performance of Ronan, an Oscar nominee for Atonement. She and Tucci -- magnificent as a man of uncontrollable impulses -- help Jackson cut a path to a humanity that supersedes life and death. Full Review

  • The Lovely Bones wasn’t the five star wonder-movie I’d hoped for, but I left the cinema more than satisfied with Jackson’s take on Susie Salmon. Full Review

  • Jackson undermines solid work from a good cast with show-offy celestial evocations that severely disrupt the emotional connections with the characters. Full Review

The Talk
100 %

Want to see it

What say you?