The Lovely Bones

Yesterday was opening day for the film ‘The Lovely Bones’ based on Alice Sebold’s (Lucky, The Almost Moon) much-loved novel of the same name. I loved this book. Everybody loved this book. If you haven’t read it you missed something amazing.

The Lovely Bones is the story of  a young girl with mousey brown hair  named  Susie Salmon, portrayed by Saoirse Ronan (The City of Ember). Susie,  murdered at only 14 years old, tells the story of her death and its effect on her family from ‘her heaven’.

Peter Jackson (Lord Of The Rings) Directed the film which features such notable talent as Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, and Susan Sarandon.

With a director possessing Jackson’s vision and a cast of such ability all working from such strong source material; it is hard to imagine “The Lovely Bones” being anything less than perfect. The question is: “Does the film deliver on the promise of the book”?

As a film judged on its own merit “The Lovely Bones” is an unqualified success. You should definitely go see this movie.

The film isn’t so successful at delivering on the promise of the book, the . On the way out of the theater I overheard  several groups of young women talking about the film. Their opinion? Hated it. While my reaction wasn’t as pointed, I agree that  the film lacks most of the emotional impact of the novel. I won’t go into any more detail on this point. I don’t want to spoil anything for you if you plan to see the film or haven’t yet read the book.

There is also no clear sense for the passing of  time. It is only when characters on-screen make statements such as ” … its been eleven months”  the audience would have difficulty assessing how much time had passed since Susie’s tragic demise.

No, this film isn’t as good as the book. What adaptation of  a novel is ever as good as its source material? But it is a good film with  touching story and a brilliant cast, who despite being accomplished actors themselves  manage to stay out-of-the-way of that story.

Peter Jackson did an incredible job of capturing life the mid 1970′s. Wahlberg and Wiesz are a  fit good in their roles despite  my first doubts.  Sarandon provides a lively spark right where the film needs it and  Tucci delivers  a particularly strong performance. He just oozes subtle creepiness.

I rate the Lovely Bones 4 out of five stars for its own sake, but only 2 and a half stars as an adaptation of the book.