Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci
Directed by: Peter Jackson
While doing research for this review, I came across a quote from a message board which sums up “The Lovely Bones” very well: “I think a lot of people came to see The Lovely Bones expecting a very different movie. They seem to want a crime thriller and were [disappointed] to get a more emotional drama about loss with little social justice.” I couldn’t agree more.
Suzie Salmon is an average 14 year old girl who loves her family, enjoys photography, and has a crush on a high school senior named Ray. Her father is an accountant and has a special bond with Suzie. In their spare time, they build “ships-in-bottles” for fun. Her mother is quiet but shows her love for Suzie in making things for her, such as a knitted rainbow-colored hat (which Suzie begrudgingly agrees to wear). She has an older sister and a younger brother, both of whom she gets along with. Her grandma is quirky and a little “out there,” but tries her best to make her family happy. All in all, Suzie has a good life. A life…which is about to be cut tragically short.
After school, Suzie walks through the corn fields to get home in time for supper. It’s wintertime, so the corn fields are barren. All of a sudden, her neighbor, George Harvey, approaches her. He seems like a nice man, but Suzie is still cautious. Until…he tells her that he’s building an “underground fort” for the neighborhood kids and she is the lucky girl to see it first. The fort was dug out of the ground and had lots of nice things in it, like snacks, games, and toys. Of course, this sparks Suzie’s curiosity. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very lucky that day…
“The Lovely Bones” tells the sad story of an event that happens every day to young girls and boys. The movie depiction of this isn’t graphic, but it’s disturbing nonetheless. It’s not so much what you see; it’s what you don’t see that leaves an imprint on your mind. The film explores the afterlife and the subtle influence a passing family member can have on our lives. Suzie watches over her family as they grieve her death and eventually strive to find her killer. The movie has a strong message of family, hope, and closure.
However, the “heaven” that “The Lovely Bones” portrays is Godless and there is no mention of a deity whatsoever. As stated before, Suzie can appear to her family members and sometimes influence what they’re thinking or doing. The movie includes some brief, strong language and some disturbing images which are pivotal to the plotline.
I had mixed feelings after seeing this movie. While I didn’t agree with a lot of its theology or beliefs, I did support the ideal of family and justice. I also believe that more young girls and women need to confront this scary truth head-on and be aware of the dangers that surround us. Trusting the wrong person at the wrong place can certainly land us in trouble. But, “The Lovely Bones” does more than just dwell on Suzie’s death – it also dwells on the life after — something which we all must do eventually.