THE LOVELY BONES
Sub-Genre- Drama/Thriller/Serial Killer
In Attendance- Me, Karrie, Dave, Michaela and Adrianna.
Cast Members of Note- Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci. Directed by Peter Jackson.
What's it About?- Susie Salmon is an average 14 year old girl who likes boys, riding her bike, building bottle ships with Marky Mark, taking pictures, and crawling into makeshift underground clubhouses with skeezy old pervs. Unfortunately, that last little hobby of hers is the reason why she ends up raped and dead. Then again, people still thought the best of people in the 1970's, so it was easy to trust strange, creepy old men.
When Susie goes missing, Marky Mark sets out on a personal crusade to find his little girl, because he hates making bottle ships alone. While he frantically searches for clues about her disappearance, she watches from heaven (her own personal version of heaven that is) wishing she could be alive because she really wants to "do" the British kid with the million dollar smile. Really. She wants to come back and do it with the kid. Not making that up. Read the book.
As more an more information and clues come to the surface, Marky Mark finds himself getting dangerously close to the sick bastard who took his little girl from him. Will the killer get away with murder, only to strike again? Will Marky Mark break off an old school freestyle rap for that ass? Will Susie ever find peace in the afterlife? I won't spoil what happens here, but suffice it to say that Susie Salmon ends up safe. Heh.
The Good- Peter Jackson is the man. Whether it be Hobbits or Zombies, homicidal schoolgirls or aliens, the guy just knows how to make movies, and make them well. Here, he takes a child murdering serial killer and family melodrama, and weaves them together seamlessly. For the most part. I just really love his vision and storytelling ability, and especially the way he can make an audience empathize with his characters. Like the movie or not, you will definitely feel it.
The most engaging thing about the movie, aside from its characters, was how easily it reminds you that monsters are everywhere in this world, and sometimes right next door. Literally. Walking home from school can lead to your death. So can trusting a stranger. Worse still, someone that you know. And to see the killers calm "every guy" demeanor after knowing in detail what he did, and the horrible nastiness of his acts, is truly chilling.
Saoirse Ronan is just great as Susie Salmon. I've been a fan of hers since Atonement, and she takes a big leap forward here in my opinion. The girl has chops for as young as she is, and I can't wait to see what else she gives us as her career progresses. Also of note is the performance of Stanley Tucci, who gets the whole creepy pedophile serial killer thing down perfectly. Oscar worthy? You never know.
The Bad- *BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD!* The movie left out a lot of the details that were present in the book, some of them were quite sordid, such as: Susie was raped as well as murdered in the book; her elbow is found in a field; the mom has an affair with the cop assigned to Susie's case; 14 year old sex happens all over the place; Susie clearly wants to "do it" with Ray in a bad way, and in the final scene Susie doesn't kiss Ray, she bones him. There's a bunch of other story elements that were changed too, and I get why they did it, but some of it could have made the movie a bit harder hitting and more intense. Just sayin'.
The Downright Horrendous- Dear girls of the world: Never willingly go into a man-made hole in the ground with a creepy older man, even if he calls it a "clubhouse" or "place to hang out." Never, ever. Especially when it's in the middle of a barren cornfield at dusk. Trust me on this one.
The Gory- This is definitely not a gory movie, and aside from one scene that's literally covered in blood, all we get are a few quick shots of corpses, and a pretty mean looking beating.
The Naked- No nudity. Teen sexuality does rear its head throughout the movie, though very subtly. For those that may feel cheated by the lack of perversion and nudity to be found here, I give you Rachel Weisz naked with a snake.
Best Line- "Be polite."
What did we learn?- The world is a sick place. Also, building ships in bottles is a pain in the ass.
The Master Says- B+ (8.5/10) I toyed with the idea of giving this one an A or A-, but I'll need to go see it again before I can truly decide how I feel. On one hand, Jackson gives us a deep, richly textured, emotionally charged creepfest that will make us look oddly at out neighbors for years to come. On the other, the film failed to delve into the starkly deeper and darker places that the book took us, which left me a bit cold. Nonetheless The Lovely Bones is an excellent film and should be on your go-and-see list when it hits theaters on January 15th.
Final Thoughts- She's in this. Yum.