Movie Review: The Lovely Bones

Directed by Peter Jackson

4 Stars

In 2009’s The Lovely Bones, directed by Peter Jackson, 14-year-old Susie Salmon narrates the story of her murder. For most of the movie, Susie resides in an identical but desolate dimension between reality and the heaven explicitly built for her killer’s victims. Here, she struggles to come to terms with her own death while watching her family grieve her in the real world. But Susie’s lingering has devastating effects on her family and the “In Between.” She must move on so that her family can also.

The movie highlights the conflicts brought on by grief as well as the importance of acceptance. It also ends on somewhat of a good note, perhaps encouraging that after the darkest of times, it’ll be ok and life goes on. What’s particularly special about this film—and where it also becomes controversial—is that it also seeks to answer the question as to the fate of the young girls who die in this gruesome manner—at the hands of the vile men of the world. Some argue that the In-Between is too fantastical, and it thereby invalidates their suffering. However, it seems like a rather benign manifestation of our hope for those girls, that they might find in some other life what they were robbed of in this one. For the story overall, it creates a harmony of comfort and reality. It balances the crippling anxiety and hopelessness the film is keen on inducing otherwise, especially since there is a real lack of absolute justice and closure, which almost allows the audience to relate to Susie’s family.

Heartbreaking or heart-palpitating at moments and contrarily hopeful at others, The Lovely Bones is a beautiful and horrific story, not for the faint of heart, and accordingly more suitable for ages 14+, but somewhat crucial.

Reviewed by Chaya J.

View in Library Catalogue: Blu-Ray