Monday, 22 August 2011

The Lovely Bones

A “Lovely” Film

Lover: Taken from IMDB
“This movie touches your heart, when you least expects. If you can relate your life with that of the girl then u can see the impact it creates. It can torn your heart down in pieces and still gives you something to cherish about it. Undoubtedly 1 of the best work in Hollywood ever.. "I was here for a moment, and then I was gone"”

I can totally see where this person is coming from, Lovely Bones is not just a film that contains the murder of a child it’s a touching study in grief and loss of a loved one.

Hater: Taken from IMDB
“Oh my! This was a horrible movie. It has been a while since I have seen one this bad. The acting was fine, everyone did a good job on that end, but the cut scenes to the acid trip land of Susie Salmon's "Heaven" were a waste of time. She never did anything there that impacted the story line. At least in "What Dreams May Come" there was a point to it. So here are some highlights of lack of logic and frustration for me:- Watching Mark Wahlberg, who they couldn't hide his frame under the 70's shirts, get beat up by a wimpy high schooler was completely bogus! - The ending with the icicle causing the killer to trip and fall off a cliff was horrible, watching Mark beat the crap out of him and throw him off a cliff would have been much better. - The LSD trip scenes of heaven were just plain boring. If Susie could have actually done anything to help her family that would have been good. - Mark's character welcoming his wife back after however long she had wimped out on her family was pretty bogus. - Mark's daughter holding the book of the killer to see his mom and dad have some fairy tale greeting and not saying, "Look, I found her killer, and he almost got me and may try again...Oh hi mom!" was completely stupid. - Many more..”

Although over the top and grossly exaggerated I can see where they are coming from. All the sequences in Susie’s Heaven do feel largely pointless if not however beautiful. I don’t think that’s a reason to write this film off though.

What I thought:

It’s a very tetchy area to get into when you adapt literature, especially when said material is so well loved. If there is one Director who is not afraid to get his hands dirty however it’s Peter Jackson, The man who took on Tolkien fanatics and won is the perfect man for the job. The Lovely Bones is the much loved story of Susie Salmon, an uncomplicated teenage girl who is tragically murdered. The story follows the aftermath; the family dealing with the grief, the police trying to catch the killer and of course the “afterlife” scenes with Susie as she decides whether to “pass on”.

In this day and age the murder of a young girl is also a subject that’s not comfortable to approach, fortunately for The Lovely Bones there is a lot more going on. Before you even start on the trippy sequences there is the family drama, with mother (Rachel Weisz) and Father (Mark Whalberg) both struggling to keep it together. Both play the roles excellently with Weisz’s character being largely unused and Whalberg showing us he can actually act, the latter becomes understandably obsessed with catching his daughters killer. In those scenes Marky Mark uses his usual angry spiel to play the father with some utterly convincing moments of manic obsession as he plagues the detective with phone calls and theories.

As far as acting goes The Lovely Bones has some fantastic muscle, Stanley Tucci almost unrecognizable and extremely hateable as the eponymous villain of the piece. Then there’s Susan Sarandon playing the boozy Nan and walking that fine line between tragic and funny superbly! Of course a lot of credit has to go to the casting of Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon, it’s such a stand out performance from someone so young, and her narration treating everything with such ambivalence it’s hard to feel anything but grief.

Then of course there is the issue of those difficult dreamy sequences in the afterlife, from giant ships in bottles to surreal landscapes it’s all quite the spectacle and the Director who astonished us with his Pelannor Fields handled each one with a sure hand. Subsequently every moment spent here is sublime with effects to match, however like the hater pointed out they can feel a little dragged out and disjointed from the story itself. It can make them feel pointless but then who are we to say what happens in the afterlife if indeed there is one, saying that she should be able to talk help her father for instance is like saying you want Unicorns to be friendly.

Lovely Bones should be viewed as a beautifully shot film about a young girl who lost her life tragically young, as she reflects on her life on the other side her family are left to cope. All of this watchable, heart warming and infinitely better than bloody “What Dreams may Come”!

Available on Blu-Ray and DVD
Running Time: 135 mins
Cert: 12

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"Films are Loved, Films are hated. I'm here to help you decide where you stand..." I also do web work including a good knowledge of HTML, ASP, using the adobe web package and a strong understanding of SEO, Google Analytics.