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The Lovely Bones too fantastical for loveliness

Director Peter Jackson's obsession with the fantastical detracts from any insight into tragedy.


Fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is murdered by the serial killer next door (Stanley Tucci), and watches from her fantastical heaven as her family (Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz) falls to pieces and police bungle the investigation. Director Peter Jackson obsesses over the awe of Susie’s afterlife but never considers how it could better illustrate the plot’s dramatic threads: Susie’s frustrated coming-of-age, her family’s pain and coping and her killer’s evasion of justice. I can’t think of a better example of an adaptation that colossally misreads the emotional context of the material (adapted from Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel). Jackson thinks the fairytale and wonderment is the point, offering no insight into tragedy.

Related Film

The Lovely Bones

Official Site:

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Alice Sebold and Peter Jackson

Producer: Carolynne Cunningham

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan, Michael Imperioli, Amanda Michalka, Nikki SooHoo, Rose McIver and Carolyn Dando

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