Pros: great cast, Saoirse Ronan, very emotional film, great imagery
Cons: some "loose" moments
The Lovely Bones is a 2010 Critics Choice Award winning film based on the book by Alice Sebold. The book was a top seller recently, and it was surprising to many when Peter Jackson took on the project. This is the same Peter Jackson that brought us the Lord of the Rings movies as well as the most recent King Kong film. Well to those who thought that Jackson couldn't handle this story, I am here to say that he far succeeded expectations, and created one of the most interesting movies of the year. The film is technically a 2009 release because it premiered in some big cities, but it has just now gone to a wide release around the country. The story itself is a really good one, but this is also a film that could be very tough subject material for some viewers. The book was a tough read in parts as well, and the film does shield some of the text, but the imagery is still there.
This is the story of Susie Salmon, who has been murdered before the film even begins, and tells the story of how things progress after she has died. The story becomes one of passage for Susie, who does not move on after her death, rather choosing to stay in what they call "the in-between." There she watches her family become broken and her killer begin to feel at ease that he has gotten away with the crime. It is at this point where Susie must make the hard decision between letting her family go and pointing them in the direction of her killer. It's a difficult journey for her, but it is brought to the big screen quite well by Peter Jackson and the cinematographer that really creates a brand new world for Susie Salmon. This world is difficult to watch at times, and at other times it is extremely beautiful to behold.
The best thing about the big screen version of The Lovely Bones is lead actress Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon. The 15-year old actress is able to pull off humor one moment and dramatic acting the next, and keep the film moving with her talents. Most film fans were probably introduced to her in Atonement, but she was also quite good in City of Ember. Now she completely takes over The Lovely Bones, and this was a role that was perfectly suited for her talents. At the 2010 Critics Choice Awards she took home the award for Best Young Actress, so it’s clear that people are starting to take notice. Saoirse Ronan could be the next big thing among young actresses, and her role in this film is definitely going to lead to many more jobs in the future. That is a future that I look forward to, as she is already a very good actress at such a young age.
The rest of the cast is filled out by Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as her parents, Susan Sarandon as her grandmother, and Stanley Tucci as the murderer. Don't worry, I am not giving anything away by letting that one slip, as it is revealed within the first few moments. Tucci himself does quite well in this role, and really becomes the extremely creepy character that was written in the book and screen play. The cast keeps the film moving, and though there were some moments where it felt like the film could have used some more editing, on the whole it was very entertaining and emotional. This is a tough movie to watch at times, but it was well worth seeing in theaters, and one that I can easily recommend. The use of color and suspense keeps this film moving, and some of the cinematography and imagery is absolutely flawless. It all leads to an entertaining film that could lead to some Oscar nominations.