Some movies have a tendency to carry emotions above and beyond the standard range you’d expect out of a story. For me, that was the case with The Lovely Bones.
I need to start by saying up front I haven’t read the book. I also didn’t quite know what to expect, as I only had a sketchy idea of what the story was. To keep it simple, this movie is about the afterlife of a young girl who is raped and murdered and tries to keep contact with her living family to help them deal with their grief.
It’s very difficult for me to characterize this movie, as it presents thriller elements and a fair share of fantasy, but definitely remains a drama.
If one thing can be praised in The Lovely Bones, it’s the overall actors’ performance. Saoirse Ronan, who plays the young girl, is stunningly convincing. Her acting adds as much to the character than the story itself, and she avoids every overdramatic trap with ease and grace. Mark Wahlberg proves once again that he is a solid performer in the role of the obsessed father. Stanley Tucci offers a bone-chilling rendition of the killer, at times even making me feel disgusted to be powerlessly observing a perfectionist methodic killer from so up close. The cast is completed by Susan Sarandon, who – like her character - walks a very fine line between a lot and too much and Rachel Weisz, who sadly got a role too remote in my opinion to really be able to shine.
Contrary to other critics I read, I feel that Peter Jackson has done a very good visual rendition of the movie’s universe by staying relatively sober in terms of special effects. Some of them came across as a bit quirky, I must admit, but be reminded I always pay close attention to these sorts of details. However, I wasn’t overly distracted by them and I don’t think they are such a big deal.
The Lovely Bones is a heavy, heavy movie. It reminds me of other dramas like What Dreams May Come or, more recently, The Fountain, but definitely draws on a darker spectrum of emotion.
The Lovely Bones is an obvious must-see, but be warned: this is not a feel-good movie. Be prepared to visit dark, cold corners of the human condition.