Watching The Lovely Bones, you quickly understand why it was pushed back a year from being released: it simply isn’t any good.
Why? Take your pick. Like all of Peter Jackson’s films, The Lovely Bones is over-directed. There’s way too much happening here. Wait, am I supposed to feel bad for the family? Feel bad for Susie? She really seems to be enjoying herself in heaven. Feel angry toward Stanley Tucci? Laugh at Susan Sarandon? Because, she... isn’t that funny.
I’ve said it a dozen times, and you’ve heard it all before, but why do filmmakers leave out the best parts of a book and leave in the worst parts? The mother’s affair with the police officer in charge of her daughter’s case is one of the best, most desperate, parts of Alice Sebold’s novel. But no, in Jackson’s film the mom (played by the underrated Rachel Weisz) goes off to grieve at in… apple orchid? Really?
Maybe I’m being a little too rough. Watching the film I thought, “wow the acting is AWFUL”. But it isn’t. Only Mark Walberg is awful. The dude can act, but he’s been distracted lately (remember The Happening? yesh). Maybe these latest roles were just paychecks to tide him over before his much-anticipated turn as real-life boxer ‘Irish’ Mickey Ward in David O. Russell’s The Fighter. Time will tell.
The only nomination this will get is Best Supporting Actor for Tucci, which is well deserved. He’s quite good, but isn’t really in it that much. The heaven scenes may garner a few technical Oscar noms, but this movie looks nowhere near as good as Avatar.
One final jab: why would you end your film with the same exact awful line that made the end of the book so terribly didactic? D