Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
How can I be sure of my salvation? Answer
REVENGE—Love replaces hatred—former israeli soldier and an ex-PLO fighter prove peace is possible-but only with Jesus
Eternal death in the Bible
Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer
Why was Hell made? Answer
Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer
Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer
What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer
How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer
What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer
THE GOOD NEWS—How to be saved from Hell. Answer
Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer
GUILT—How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer
GUILT—If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer
|Featuring||Saoirse Ronan (Susie Salmon), Mark Wahlberg (Jack Salmon), Rachel Weisz (Abigail Salmon), Stanley Tucci (George Harvey), Susan Sarandon (Grandma Lynn), Amanda Michalka (Clarissa), Jake Abel (Brian Nelson), Rose McIver (Lindsey Salmon), Michael Imperioli (Len Fenerman), See all »|
|Producer||WingNut Films, DreamWorks SKG, Film4, Key Creatives, Marc Ashton, Philippa Boyens, Anne Bruning, Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson, Ken Kamins, Aimée Peyronnet, Tessa Ross, Steven Spielberg, Fran Walsh, James Wilson|
|Distributor||Dreamworks Pictures / Paramount Pictures|
“The story of a life and everything that came after.”
This film is based on the best-selling novel by Alice Sebold.
Susie Salmon (an astounding Saoirse Ronan) is a typical fourteen year old. She loves taking pictures with her new camera, going to school, and silently watching her secret crush. All that changes when her neighbor lures her into seeing a new underground clubhouse he’s supposedly built for the neighborhood kids. After her rape and murder, Susie is stuck in an “in-between” of heaven and hell where she watches her family mourn her death and try to move on with their lives.
“The Lovely Bones” aims to cover too much in its over two-hour run, ultimately creating a disjointed, emotionless mess. While the primary plot should be Susie’s murder and afterlife, the film also deals with the depraved mind of the killer, marital issues, and Susie’s self-awakening and growth. While rape and murder are heavy and traumatic enough, the film also tries to illicit laughs from its audience with comedic one liners from the free-spirited grandma (a magnificent Susan Sarandon). It simply does not feel right to laugh when the evil killer and his perverse thoughts fill the subsequent scenes. It’s also rather odd and disturbing that Susie’s portrayed as better off dead, since she somehow found herself and grew as a person during her time in the “in-between.” Her killer’s evil deeds are not frowned upon enough and is placed on the back burner as she watches her family move on with their lives and even still observes her crush.
Some tighter editing would have benefited the film. The first forty-minute segment is rather well-paced and suspenseful. Director Peter Jackson did a phenomenal job in building the suspense from the slow revelation of the killer to his luring Susie into the death trap. I was at the edge of my seat as Susie slowly realizes she should not have taken his invitation. The murder occurs off screen, but still does not lessen the suspense. This film refreshingly demonstrates that movies do not have to have excessive amounts of gore or blood to build suspense; rather, having the imagination fill in the blanks can be just as effective.
“The Lovely Bones” loses its pace in the middle as massive amounts of time is spent showing the viewer CGI eye candy in Susie’s “in-between” world. While the CGI effects are great, they eventually became a waste of time since they never emotionally enhance or strengthen the film. While time is nonexistent in this realm, it certainly exists for the audience. The latter portion of the film creates teasing moments of suspense and quite a lackluster ending which should have been rewritten for the film to end with a stronger bang.
The film is relatively low on the offensive content. There are only about 2 uses of profanity, with one “f” word and 1 SOB. No sexual content is shown, but it is implied that young couples go off to the corn field to have sex, while the killer watches them. A sketch of breasts is shown; there are about three kissing scenes, but they are all tastefully done. The grandma is shown to excessively drink and smoke. While she does call alcohol her medicine, she is never shown drunk. In one scene, she asks Susie if she’s been kissed yet, and then tells her granddaughter that her first kiss was with a grown man.
The depicted violence is relatively mild. There is one rather graphic scene of a father getting beaten by a young man. While Susie’s murder does occur off screen, it’s heavily implied with bloody floors, clothes, and bags shown. Some dead bodies are shown floating in different bodies of water.
The film takes place in the 1970s when kidnapping wasn’t as publicized or common as it is today. In general, people were more trusting of their neighbors. While we should definitely teach our children to never go off with those whom they do not know and to use caution at all times; it’s also important to teach them to not be overly afraid of those who can do us harm (Luke 12:4).
Susie’s killer would often sit, fiddling with a charm of her bracelet while he stared at the chest which stored her body. In her narrative, Susie said that he had begun to feel safe and soon began getting the itch to kill again. There are similar killers and other criminals who believe their craftiness have created the perfect crime. This correlates with Isaiah 29:15:
“Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?”
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
I personally do not recommend “The Lovely Bones.” The film does not have any soul to it, and it sadly wasted the enormous talent of the cast with its poor script and lack of strong direction. While the CGI is well-made, audiences are well past the age where simply seeing it on the screen is rewarding. Along with technology, some heart or moral lesson is needed to give films a sense of purpose. Lacking any universal moral, “The Lovely Bones” is better skipped, since finding one’s self in some stage of an “in-between” is definitely not true.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.