on 3 August 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film. It is much gentler than most in it's genre, concentrating more on the emotions circling around death, rather than the horror of death alone.
Well acted, and thought provoking, I loved travelling on the journey with Susie as she weighs her desire for vengeance to her rapist and murderer, against her desire for her family to heal.
The distinct lack of religious aspects of a devine heaven was also a refreshing change, as we are told the story by Susie from her own 'personal' heaven, rather than one born from any specific religious perspective.
This is a film I could quite happily watch over and over again.
on 14 November 2011
The Lovely Bones is Peter Jackson's adaptation of the book written by Alice Sebold. I have never read the novel so I had no previous knowledge of what the plot was, other than the general overview of what my friends had told me. I have to admit, I found the storyline extremely moving and sinister, leaving me feeling unnerved about the type of people that are out there and what they are capable of.
The film focuses on the traumatic disappearance of a teenage girl, Suzy Salmon, during the 1970's. She is a typical young, happy-go-lucky girl, who wouldn't hurt a fly. Right from the start you are caught up in a series of events that change her family's life forever. Personally, I found this film very disturbing. It causes audience members to think about who lives next door to them and the potential for them to be an extremely dangerous person. The era in which the film is set also plays an important part, as it is safe to say that we no longer live in a world where it is ok to leave your door unlocked. The film provides quite an in depth representation of the persona of a paedophile; acting all sweet and caring in front of parents when really he is a horrible, murderous man who wishes to trap their daughter. Although this section was very unnerving, I found that it helped the story evolve as you got to see just how sick and twisted he is. Also, I like how the film takes on a variety of perspectives: the family's struggle to accept the loss of their daughter; the murderer's fear of being discovered; the police's anger at the lack of evidence; and of course Suzy's torment at being taken away from her family.
Peter Jackson's interpretation of `limbo' is a perfect use of CGI and is easy to understand by everyone, whether they are religious or not. The idea that you were seeing the majority of events through the daughter's eyes makes the whole experience more personal, allowing you to really identify with Suzy and how hard she is finding it to detach herself from her family. You go on a journey with her as she tries to come to terms with what has happened.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. I think the storyline is really interesting and very cleverly put together. Be prepared with a box of tissues when you watch it as many scenes definitely play on your heart strings and maybe a pillow to hide behind when things start to get a bit gruesome.
on 21 January 2012
Before reading the reviews I presumed this film would be depressing, a little creepy and maybe a shock value film praying on people's reactions to it. I avoided it. Time passed and then considering daring to view it (I knew it was about a topic personal to me that upsets me). Yet reading the so so reviews on Amazon of 'The Lovely Bones' I thought this film would be below par and continued to avoid. I finally took the plunge and watched the film without regret or any hesitation when viewing. On both counts, how wrong could I have been to be worried about this film if it was 'sick' or in bad taste. It simply isn't. It is a fantastic film and definitely one of the very best I own. It is a powerful piece of film production in every sense of the word.
Whilst watching, I cried most, if not all of the film. Yet I'm a grown man, quite hardened by life and not easily 'emotional'. Previous films I liked covering sudden loss were 'Untamed Heart' (featuring Christian Slater) and another favourite 'Message in a Bottle' (featuring Kevin Costner). I would recommend those films. Yet this one focuses on one area of the aforementioned and concentrates it significantly to the point the entire film becomes a continuous building tragedy or trauma - but as a reflection on the past. This may seem unpleasant or 'weird' but it's needed and it's what makes the film unique. Nothing is like this film that I have ever seen in that respect, nothing.
'The Lovely Bones' therefore had a profound reaction in my soul, it touched me deeply. It is the sort of quality film one could give to a friend or partner who might not understand your past (if you have one like the family of character 'Susie' in the film) and you will not have to explain to them why you weep when watching it as they will weep too. Especially if they are connected to you spiritually on a deep level. I think I will do this myself in the future now.
This movie could be (to some) an opportunity to be a voyeur into someone's emotional pain, in terms of understanding when people die young, why this is so unfair. Why there is a huge difference between a person living to only six or sixteen, rather than seventy six with children and grandchildren of their own. Why never experiencing a kiss, a first date, a first day at work, a first home, marriage, children, achievement...... why it is all matters so. This movie touches upon all those 'never had's' of the person now gone, yet it does so without bitterness and fury but instead a slow reasoning of 'that is life', because ultimately, it is 'just' life. We all are created, born, and then pass away yet we believe as children it will never happen to us directly, or our family. Instead we believe tragedy happens to ''other people'', as the movie itself says.
I cried through the film because my sister died in tragic circumstances, and every single nuance of the film brought back memories of this. Not memory of terror and fear, but just memories that I cannot describe. Maybe these are the ethereal supernatural energies this film touches upon. Whatever they are, they are indescribable. (Just as a dream/life/heaven state could/would be if one had to describe it).
During the film, the approach to death is heavily narrated and and in parts, played out, but not in the style of 'who done it', because we know from the very first few minutes who did it. Thankfully, there is no gore or suffering shown which was a relief. The director sensitively and sensibly leaves the 'act' of murder up to your imagination. Instead we are shown the subsequent loss and the regret of the consequences of when people die and leave us. The static family situation of post death, the denial, and finally the eventual moving on.
Perhaps people who don't understand this movie, maybe see it in the wrong context? I can understand that this is easily possible and why some just don't 'get it'.
The wrong context would be how some have described this movie as being about a child killer getting away with murder.
The right context would be this film is nothing to do with types of criminal or justice for victims of crime.
This film is more about memories of past and present of those who die and those who love them. It's about what we do with these memories, what they mean to us, how we hold onto them and how sometimes we shouldn't. Memories that you the viewer may create into simple or fantastic emotional feelings as you watch the film, whilst mesmerized by what you are watching. That, is surely the mark of good if not excellent film is it not? To be kept in your seat unable to turn away, to be concentrating, to be observing. To be....feeling.
In some ways, this film is a metaphorical 'key' to access tears, tears often compressed and rarely accessible due to the routines of life we all must take part in, to survive.
In this respect, people considering this film should be aware of that. It's not your average sad film, it's an unparalleled film (in my opinion) that may release significant grief.
Such is the power of this film, I would not recommend it as a family viewing experience even for a couple,or siblings who are very close. This film (again in my opinion) is one to be watched alone and to be appreciated alone IF you have experienced tragedy of a similar nature. In this setting, it can be appreciated without any concern of how people might think you are reacting, e.g. that you might become very tearful and emotional. For me personally I won't be watching this film with my parents. I may not even tell them I watched it because for some people loss is not a thing we should 'poke' out of it's hiding hole too frequently, especially if decades have passed. One should be mindful of this. Play with caution if a death in your family is to this day something you don't openly discuss because you haven't all closed the chapter on your loved one passing away. This may take a life time, or never happen at all. Either way it cannot be prematurely induced, even with a movie like this.
In conclusion this film leaves me with a sense of acceptance of when people leave you without saying goodbye, that is what I get from the film. Closure. Even if that closure is an illusion because of course, this is only a movie. Yet one that excels in spectacular visual imagery (special effects), narrative ('Susie's' voice over narrating the story) and realism of what tragedy is for those left behind to pick up the pieces and carry on.
In essence, this film is the epitome of emotion wrapped up in digital format that a book cannot create. I appreciate how exceptional books can be. Yet books don't have powerful music scores, books don't have audio narrative, and books don't have faces of great actors that make you know them, despite these people being 'just' actors. If they can act (as all of the actors do in this film so well) they make you part of their family for the time you are staring at the screen. They place you there, in their home.
Nowadays I rarely think of my own sister on a daily basis, as I have moved on and time in some respect, does heal. But she will always be there in my heart, just like the character 'Susie Salmon' is to her family in The Lovely Bones.
Flawless and highly recommended for the right audience.
on 7 January 2011
With having looked at many mixed reviews before buying this DVD, I wondered whether I had made a mistake. However it was a gamble that (for me) paid off.
Throughout the film, the portrayal of grief, hope and the battle to get closure from Susie's death fascinated me. I thought the performances from Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg as the heartbroken parents were fantastic, especially their portrayal showing the transition of emotions from the happy, family meal at the dinner time scenes to the sudden fear and realisation that something awful had happened to their daughter. The panic shown was truely believable, as too was the different ways the family dealt with their loss.
The casting of Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon was pure genius and her narration provided a lovely ending with a real sense of closure for her character. But for me Stanley Tucci's chilling performance as George Harvey is the most outstanding aspect of this film. Having seen him in many other films playing the nice guy, I could not believe it was the same person. From the look in his eyes, to his habit of adjusting his glasses, to his body language; he really got into the role of his character. So much so, some of the scenes made me feel very uncomfortable but captivated at the same time.
Having read the book, there are some similarities and differences, but like with all films, I prefer not to compare a book to it's film. I will definately be watching this film again on numerous occasions.
on 28 September 2011
If ever there was an achievement of conveying a dream to film, this would surely be the greatest ever. The imagination and application to cinematography here is staggering. The story centres around the grooming and eventual kidnapping of a young girl which ends in tradegy. Quite a regular story-line, but delivered with some serious clout.
The casting is strong but Mark Wahlberg's performance is bang on point with realism as he frantically fights tooth and nail, leaving no stone unturned until he is satisfied in himself by the answers to his many questions. Enchanting, ethereal visuals in rich colour married with the audio nearly pushed me to tears a couple of times. Two super-heavyweights of their classes; Brian Eno and Peter Jackson merge brainpower together to make history consigning run of the mill averageness to the bargain bin.
There are many moments which instantly seem classic and give an awfully rare throw-back to the dreamy nostalgic period of the eighties (ET/NeverEnding Story/Labyrinth etc). More films should be made with this degree of innovation and obvious diligence to all elemental factors pertaining to production. More importantly, this movie shows how powerful ambient music can be when its composed and applied thoughtfully and effectively according to the screenplay.