Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Lovely Bones starring Mark Wahlberg

The Lovely Bones is a 2009 film directed by Peter Jackson, based upon the 2002 novel of the same name authored by Alice Sebold. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Suzie Salmon (the lead role), Mark Wahlberg as her father Jack, Rachel Weisz as her mother, Abby, and Stanley Tucci as George Harvey. Susan Sarandon and Rose McIver put in appearances as Lynn (Suzie's grandmother) and Lindsey (Suzie's older sister).

In 1973, Suzie Salmon was fourteen, living in Norristown, PA, a nice suburban town and was dreaming of becoming a famous photographer. She lived with her mother, father, older sister and younger brother. The best parts of her life were the camera that she received for her birthday and the crush that she had on a boy that she went to school with (and who was appearing to return her affections). Suzie narrates the film - it's almost entirely in her perspective - and she tells of her murder by a neighbor (Harvey, played by Stanley Tucci) as well as the impact that it has on the people that she loves. The murder happens early in the movie, so it's no surprise. We also learn a lot about her killer - a scary, single man that has an obsessive interest in making dollhouses and big glasses. This guy gave me the creeps as soon as I laid eyes upon him, even before the homicide occurred - just by his appearance. After she is murdered, Suzie wanders around the afterlife in an attempt to figure out how to close things out on Earth so that she can move on to eternal bliss in Heaven because, apparently, one cannot move from one realm to the other without that closure.

There were two shining glories in this movie - the performances of Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan.  They both added to their roles in a way that the rest of the cast didn't really even come close to.  Ronan was an eager and likeable actress that brought these qualities to her vision of Suzie Salmon.  I think that a big part of the reason that I liked Suzie was because I also liked Ronan.  Tucci was rightfully nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. That nomination was well deserved. He WAS the character (well, I hope not really in real life. I'm assuming he's not, which is why his performance as so amazing).

There were other parts of the move that were difficult to deal with - sometimes, it was tedious.  The movie itself was way too long for what the characters' motivations were - the movie could have been much shorter than it was. Jackson also made the afterlife a little too literal - almost everyone that believes in the afterlife has an opinion as to what it looks like on the other side and Jackson threatened to isolate many people. Also, if you're looking for a murder mystery/police procedural then this isn't the movie for you because the murder and its perpetrator are identified right off the bat.

Generally, an ok movie.  I enjoyed it.

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