"The Lovely Bones" movie review

I try to avoid comparing a movie to its book counterpart, because sometimes both are equally good standing on their own (ie. the Harry Potter movies vs. the books), but with "The Lovely Bones" it was unavoidable—I had just read the novel a few weeks ago, and that was the reason I was so excited to see the movie. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in the movie version.

Fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon is murdered by her neighbor, Mr. Harvey, one night while crossing the corn fields to get home from school. Her parents begin to worry when she is late coming home for dinner, and soon the police are involved. Years pass by, however, and there are no leads. What Susie's family and friends don't know is that she is in the "in between", a kind of "waiting room" before she gets to Heaven. From there, Susie is able to watch over her family, her friends Ruth and Ray, and, inevitably, her killer. She knows that if she can just move on, she will be able to reach Heaven, but she is unable to do so. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Susie's father and sister refuse to forget her, and continue searching for her murderer, gathering evidence from Mr. Harvey's house that they give to the police.

The movie has an A-List cast; unfortunately, none of them really truly excel in their parts, with the exception of Stanley Tucci (Mr. Harvey), who is creepy as hell, and Susan Sarandon, who plays Susie's bourbon-drinking, fur-wearing grandmother. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz are are lackluster as Mr. and Mrs. Salmon. Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement") as Susie might have been able to pull off her part better had she more screen time in which to do it.

I would say No, don't see this movie, even if you have not read the book. The person I went to see this movie with was confused about a number of scenes, and I was able to enlighten him because I had read the book; if I hadn't, I would have been as confused as he was. The acting is not bad but not great either (with the exception of Tucci and Sarandon) and even though the movie clocks in at 135 minutes, Peter Jackson (director of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy) is unable to fulfill the big shoes that Lovely Bones author Alice Sebold has left for him. Reviewed by Liz.

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