The Lovely Bones

6.72 h 15 min2009X-RayPG-13
HD. A murdered girl watches over her family as they struggle to solve her disappearance in Peter Jackson's stirring adaptation of the novel.
Peter Jackson
Mark WahlbergRachel WeiszSusan Sarandon
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Stanley TucciMichael ImperioliSaoirse Ronan
Aimee PeyronnetCarolynne CunninghamFran WalshPeter Jackson
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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Smokingalcohol usenudityfoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.7 out of 5 stars

7677 global ratings

  1. 81% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Christina ChristinaReviewed in the United States on January 16, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
A haunting adaptation that, at its best, proves less is more
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I watched this movie after having read the book. However, I was not disappointed. I knew not to expect the same amount of detail. It was a hard task to adapt the novel into a two-hour film, and, in my opinion, Peter Jackson did as well as can be expected while still adding his own personal touch.

The acting was phenomenal. Saoirse Ronan is able to say volumes with her eyes. Stanley Tucci's George Harvey made my skin crawl with a look. Susan Sarandon broke up the sentimentality with her oddball quirkiness. And I could feel the parents' heartbreak by just looking at the faces of Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz.

Another thing I loved was Peter Jackson's minimalist approach to conveying the horror and brutality of the crime. Alice Sebold didn't shy away from including a rape scene and describing, in morbid detail, the state of Susie's remains. It's easier to include such details in a book than in a movie. And you can't ignore the fact that it's one thing to read about a 14 yo girl having certain experiences, and it's another to watch a 14 yo real-life girl act out these experiences. Stating that Susie was raped wouldn't have added anything to the movie. If anything, it would have been gratuitous because there wouldn't have been much time available to flesh out that trauma so that it enhanced the themes of the story. Sebold had more space available in the novel. But Jackson was still able to convey everything you needed to know. It was in the way Harvey looked at Susie. In the heartbreaking way Holly and Susie reacted to Lindsey's first kiss. In the amount of blood in Harvey's bathroom and the shot of that razor blade. In the image of the pitifully small safe that was tossed into the sinkhole. And in the fact that we got to view the other victims' bodies, but Susie was reduced to just a bloody sack. These images were as powerful as any words or graphic visuals.

In fact, the movie works best when it remains subtle.

The voice-over was hokey and overly sentimental at times. I think some of what was stated in the voice-over was better stated through action shots. It was a convenient crutch to have Susie tell you what you needed to know. And that, along with the cloying final montage scene,
might have contributed to the rushed feeling of the ending. Though I loved the final scene with the mother.

And the special effects were over the top at times as well. But I liked the way images from Susie's life echoed in her afterlife, lending significance to the mundane in a way that felt authentic to a trauma victim. I thought the movie did well juxtaposing images to convey meaning. And that's part of why I felt the voice-over was intrusive at times. But I also liked hearing Susie narrate her story using words from the book. It's a balancing act.

I also want to touch on my thoughts about Ebert's review. In my opinion, he was overly harsh and possibly biased. The movie does not glorify death any more than Christians have been doing for over 2000 years. And it's preferable to think of Susie in a place of beauty rather than in hell or limbo. And for much of the movie, anyway, she is in a sort of desolate limbo (more desolate than in the book, I might add), so I don't know where he got the impression she was better off dead. But after what she went through, she deserves a little peace. I would think that would be comforting. If you want to watch a 14 yo murder victim spend eternity in her own personal hell so that you can feel the subject of her death was dealt with seriously enough -- if this is what it takes to reassure yourself that her killer/rapist is a monster who has not won -- then perhaps The Lovely Bones is not for you.
7 people found this helpful
Andi Grant EdwardsReviewed in the United States on May 17, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
Horribly Made Film
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Peter Jackson, what were you, Fran and Philippa thinking?! To say my husband and I were disappointed in this film is an understatement. Someone please explain what this movie is supposed to be - a thriller? A family drama? A murder mystery? A glimpse of Heaven or Pergatory? Saying to a murdered girl, “everyone has to die eventually” makes light of the fact that it was done by a psycho pedophile Seems like it borrowed themes from movies such as “Ghost,” and “What Dreams are Made of.” When the movie was over (I can’t believe we didn’t just shut it off), my husband and I Googled reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and other forums so we wouldn’t feel like we were the only ones who were grossly disappointed. This DVD went into the garage sale pile as soon as it was ejected from the DVD player.
21 people found this helpful
Hoofie13Reviewed in the United States on March 17, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful and Haunting
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“THE LOVELY BONES” is an intense thriller, an emotional journey into a supernatural world “in between” Life and Death. A journey you will not easily forget. It is beautiful and haunting.

Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz honestly portray grief stricken parents. Susan Sarandon, the boozy, yet rock solid grandmother, is hilarious. And Stanley Tucci, the neighbor Mr. Harvey, is absolutely chilling.

But, most of all, you will never forget 13 year old Saoirse Ronan. Her insightful and sensitive portrayal, with subtle body language and gorgeous pale blue eyes, gives Susie Salmon life. A life you care about… even in death.

You will never forget Susie Salmon.

In a whispery, matter-of-fact voice, Susie tells her story. “My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was 14 years old when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.”

Trapped inside a “perfect world,” Susie longs to reassure her family that she is still here, as they struggle to deal with her murder. She craves revenge for the man who took everything from her. And she yearns for the first kiss that never was.

Helplessly, from her world “in between,” Susie watches her family fall to pieces. She watches her murderer as he watches her younger sister, Lindsey, who is now growing up. And she watches the boy she loves, fall in love with that “weird, other worldly girl” who feels her presence and accepts that the dead walk among the living
Ultimately, Susie’s killer is exposed. Her family begins to heal and accept a world without her in it. And Susie sadly realizes it is time to move on. “I was here for a moment and then I was gone.”

As for me, I can never forget Susie Salmon.

I am haunted by “THE LOVELY BONES.” Long after, I am left to ponder uneasily. “What is DEATH?” For, as Susie’s “in between” friend, Holly says, “…everybody dies.”

“I wish you a long and happy LIFE.”
38 people found this helpful
Matthew D'SouzaReviewed in the United States on January 20, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
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A chilling crime thriller that is bogged down with odd fantasy.

The Lovely Bones (2009) is Peter Jackson's suspenseful and stunning adaptation of the novel of the same name. The Lovely Bones contains some of the scariest sequences I have ever witnessed. The suspense is killer. Jackson's direction is excellent in all of the real thriller sequences, but his beautiful fantasy elements miss the mark. Instead of tender emotional metaphors, these fantasy scenes feel tedious and off tonally. I do think they still look remarkable all the same.

As for Jackson's direction during the real family portions and serial killer perspectives, The Lovely Bones is so intimate and touching, while also reaching into the horrifying. Jackson's use of illusive lighting, bright colors, clever editing, and tense long takes are admirable.

I think the music does not often fit tonally as the symphonic score is tense and lovely, but random guitar passages sweep in to ruin the atmosphere several times. The editing could have taken down The Lovely Bones' longer length, but the incredible use of image matching makes the edits all worth it. Jackson gets the most out of his metaphors. I really love the creative angles and unsettling viewpoints that Jackson uses made The Lovely Bones one of the most unique films I have ever seen.

Saoirse Ronan is excellent in The Lovely Bones as Susie Salmon. Her introductory appearances are so endearing and sweet that you hate what happens to her. Saoirse Ronan plays innocent and distraught quite well. For such a young actress, Saoirse maintains an air of confidence and certainty with her acting choices. You feel a deeper empathy with her character thanks to Saoirse's performance.

I must mention Stanley Tucci's incredible portrayal as the serial killer and pedophile George Harvey. I honestly think that Tucci delivered his greatest acting role ever in The Lovely Bones. He is one of the scariest and creepiest villains in movie history. Tucci's every look is suspicious and frightening. His sudden rage and violence is shocking and upsetting. Tucci plays every gaze creepy and monstrous. He really is a phenomenal actor. Stanley Tucci proves his serious character acting ability in The Lovely Bones. I had nightmares of Tucci after my first viewing of The Lovely Bones.

Lastly, the supporting cast is pretty solid in The Lovely Bones. Mark Wahlberg is great as Jack Salmon. His depiction of fatherly love and grief is believable and admirable. He gets some nice moments of rage and frustration. Likewise, Rachel Weisz is great as the mother Abigail Salmon. Her grief and sorrow is very gripping.

Overall, as uneven as The Lovely Bones is at times, I found it suspenseful to the very end. It's a great movie!
11 people found this helpful
Linda LeeReviewed in the United States on January 31, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant storytelling, mesmerizing dreamy view of shadowlands of Heaven .....but read the book outshines the movie
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Read the book to understand the movie. The book has less dreamscapes but more rich plot development where characters are believable and fully engaging. Small things like Susie s charm bracelet, and minor characters play a more intricate role in the book. The movie did an amazing CG work of weaving Suzie and her Heaven and outreach to her family - but misses the richness of the books probing depths into the rape of innocence , both the child and the era, the 1970s. Stanley Tucci gives a superb performance and truly captures the chilling sociopath without including all of his characters totally vile and depraved nature you will find in the book. I'm glad I had the roadmap of the book to light the way and bring the text to life----all the characters in the book are perfectly, well, brilliantly cast and when I read the book a second time the movie illuminated the authors vision in colorful and imaginative detail.
21 people found this helpful
Kisha MajorsReviewed in the United States on September 14, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
I hesitate to give 5 stars but....
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I hesitate to give five stars. (Because I rarely do) This movie is amazing. So beautiful. And horrible at the same time. I cried through half of it.... It reached me on a level that rarely movies do. Profound. Honest. Loving. Shows also what is so wrong with this world. I wish, there really was some cosmic justice. So I guess this filled that fantasy. I've known for some time there is an "in between" and there is a heaven. And our thoughts and minds do control it.
4 people found this helpful
Long term customerReviewed in the United States on January 4, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Take it or mostly leave it
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This is a chick flick. I enjoyed some of it, but some of it was insufferable.
There is a 14 year old girl that gets murdered in the 1970's. The producers made some effort, but didn't fully capture the era. A ton of anachronisms.
The murderer should have been caught by police, but it doesn't happen. He eventually gets his karma.
The film asks up to believe that all the victims of serial murderers are content, and satisfied in some other world, cavorting with each other, playing and having fun, and just waiting for the rest of the victims to appear.
Of course it is wonderful to see the victim get her first kiss.
Not sure what is the point of the drunk grandmother.
Slightly thought provoking, but I wouldn't watch it twice.
Way too much "rainbow bridge" for humans nonsense for me.
2 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on March 12, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Not as good as the book
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This wasn't bad, and I understand that they need to change things when they adapt a book into a movie, but somehow the movie just didn't "gut-punch" me the way the book did. I read the book in 2 days, it was so good and so heart wrenching. In my opinion, the movie tried too hard to be a thriller when the book (while thrilling) was more telling the story of everything Susie had lost and everything she had now gained being dead. It was a lot more emotional and painful to read. The actors did a fantastic job in the film though, for what they had to work with, and I do love Soarsie Ronan and Stanley Tucci. It's worth seeing the movie if you've read and loved the book like I have, but if you haven't read the book, the movie really won't impact you the way the book does. And the movie left out a lot of great character development, and even whole characters, like Ray's mom, Samuel's role, Ruth's development, etc. Do yourself a favor and read the book.
2 people found this helpful
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