I had reservations about this film. I knew the premise of the story line and as any parent will tell you that scared the daylights out of me. It just doesn’t sound entertaining; it sounds too real. The story is thus: a young teenage girl is brutally murdered, and this is the story of her ghost trying to find justice for what was done to her. The film stars some great talent: Mark Wahlberg as the father, Rachel Weisz as the mother, Stanley Tucci as the murderer, Michael Imperioli as the Detective, Susan Sarandon as the grandmother, and Saoirse Ronan as the victim. The film is even directed by Peter Jackson, a personal favorite of mine.
All that being said, this film is a let-down. There’s plenty of suspense, and drama, but the film becomes filled with a ton of visual nonsense and poorly-written parts. The sort of “Heaven” that Susie Salmon, the victim, finds herself in seems to be utterly out of place. It was distracting to the meat of the tale, and I for one didn’t like it. It was too much “What Dreams May Come” and not enough of what it should have been. I guess it made some sense to the story they were telling, but I thought it was too sugary sweet and all happiness and light.
Tucci is brilliant in the film, and his performance deserves some recognition. He plays creepy very, very well. Sarandon veritably steals the whole film though with her over-the-top performance as the booze-swilling & inept grandmother. Sadly though, Wahlberg wasn’t allowed to show what he can do. I kept thinking of “the Departed” when I was watching his performance here & thinking “I know he can do so much more”. The biggest disappointment though was Rachel Weisz. She’s a top-notch actress, but the part that she was given to play was just …blank. It was almost non-existent.
The film also has a big problem with what I call “the righteous end”. A film like this, featuring the violent murder of an innocent young girl, should have an ending that makes you think that at least the killer was caught in the end. SPOILER ALERT! No, in this film, the killer is taken out by a complete accident: an icicle falls on the guy causing him to trip and fall off a cliff. The ending leaves me thinking the writer of the original tale (it was originally a book) wanted the murderer to die, but didn’t want to have him killed in a realistic fashion. It was like they didn’t want to dirty their hands. The writer must have wanted to say “I don’t want our main characters to become evil like him”. Maybe I am just too old-fashioned but I wanted justice to be shown in this film. After all, it IS a movie. While it may appear very true-to-life, it is still just a fictional tale. I was hoping for an ending like “To Die For”.
Over all, the film wasn’t all I had hoped for. If the realistic story intimidates you, trust me – the “heavenly” scenes will lessen the blow. I don’t even want to get into the very twisted ending involving the possession of the medium-like character. That didn’t help the film’s ending either.
…and that is it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.
- The Lovely Bones (cmcwebbgoodbooks.wordpress.com)
- “The Lovely Bones” (somecamerunning.typepad.com)
- Saoirse Ronan (buzzfeed.com)