The Lovely Bones is one of those little movies that perhaps you have missed though it certainly got some box office traction when Stanley Tucci was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA and an Academy Award for his bone chilling performance as George Harvey. Also receiving a nod for her performance as Susie Salmon was Saoirse Ronan receiving a BAFTA nomination for best lead actress. There were also nominations for art direction and cinematography. The Lovely Bones doesn't quite qualify as a murder mystery because the viewer is informed about the murder and who committed it very early in the movie. What Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) attempts with The Lovely Bones is commendable and inspired adaptation of the 2002 novel by Alice Sebold. Yet there is an air of mystery and suspense about the whole movie which is intertwined with violence and an almost angelic peace.
Peter Jackson delivers a movie which is both entertaining and food for thought. Suzie Salmon is our narrator, a third person omniscient narrator, who is already dead at the start of the movie. The Lovely Bones is told in a flash back style switching between scenes of Suzie's untimely demise, how the family is dealing with it and her own spiritual afterlife in a kind of pretty purgatory which offers nothing but time and the ability to see all which can be a blessing or a curse.
The real question any movie goer wants answered is: is The Lovely Bones worth your time. The short answer is yes but there are some reservations. This is not a thrill a minute movie it is a slow churn, and churn is the best word to describe it. There are layers, layers to behaviour, layers to feelings of guilt and remorse. The strange private heaven that Suzie occupies is a great vantage point to see everything but Suzie only sees what she wants to see which is natural enough as she is/was only 14 at the time of her murder. This is carefully crafted storytelling but it also requires work on behalf of the viewer. When approaching The Lovely Bones you have to be willing to suspend disbelief and think about what is being said by the narrator and give the words the gravity they deserve considering that they are coming from a dead girl. Like the movie itself the finale of the movie is quietly messy surprisingly violent and yet ultimately peaceful.