The Lovely Bones



Don’t believe this film is as bad as you’ve heard – it’s worse.

Sitting through the two ours plus that this film lasted, I found myself shaking my head at quite how awful this film is. I can hardly believe that Peter Jackson was responsible for creating such an unholy mess. Let’s get the excuses out of the way first. This is not a book that lends itself to a film adaptation (any more than The Time Traveller’s Wife did). It’s a cross between tragedy, thriller, romance and whimsy which can be sustained on the written page, but expires when being made visual. Let me list the problems. 1. The Music. Yes, I know I go on about music all the time, but this is shockingly overdone, relentless, cloying and physically unbearable. 2. The emotional tone. Gooey sentiment is the order of the day (reinforced by the music), the setting (early 70s suburban America) and the voiceover by Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), who tells us what’s happening at the same time as we’re watching. Voiceovers are always a problem, and the breathy little girl voice grates horribly from the very beginning. 3. Authenticity. I didn’t believe a single thing in the whole film, not the characters, the story, the things people did and said – nothing. Complete baloney.
Some critics have complained that the violent death of Susie (I’m not giving anything away) is watered down. Personally, I have no desire to see a graphic depiction of a 14 year old being raped and murdered; what we see is horrendous enough. That misses the point, as does the complaint about the CGI design of the semi-heaven from which Susie observes the lives of those who have been left behind. The design is neither here nor there, it’s the sickly-sweet mood that is so cringe-making. And who is this film supposed to appeal to? I can’t think of any audience to whom it is going to appeal. Save your money.

Philip Raby
Front Row Films

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