Hey FOOLS! Yeah you read it right, I'm going there and saying that The Lovely Bones is one of the best films this year, it's a big call but after watching the film last night I am totally blown away by it but we'll get to why in a few minutes. Adapting a novel, especially one that has been so acclaimed, is a risky business people will either complain that it is too close to the novel (these are usually the ones who are pretending that they've read the book or flat out didn't like the book) or the ones who wish it was more like the novel (usually people who have read the novel 15 times and will be disappointed no matter what they watch, Twi-hards are the exception to this rule they are obsessed teenage girls or lonely mothers both who live vicariously through the relationships in the books and for some reason they love the sloppy poop that was New Moon), Peter Jackson is someone who really gets how to adapt a novel and I was actually disappointed with myself that I could have doubted him going in to see the film, I mean the guy made LOTR and King Kong (which I love, suck it haters). For those who have not read or even heard of the novel The Lovely Bones is the story of a 14 year old girl, named Susie Salmon, who is raped and murdered by a member of her street, Mr Harvey. She watches her family from the afterlife as they try to grieve her death in their different ways, her father wants some form of justice and begins to investigate Susie's death when he feels the police are not doing enough.
There were two things leading into the film from the novel that concerned me about the film version, in the novel I remember reading the rape and murder scene I was a little disturbed and I really hoped that Jackson wouldn't get too graphic in the scene but if this was the case there would have been word of it by now. The scene was still disturbing but that was more down to the great performance of Stanley Tucci as Mr. Harvey and not the fact that a 14 year old girl was being killed, actually there is nothing that really straight out suggests that Mr. Harvey rapes Susie other than the fact that he tells her she's very pretty but believe me Tucci is creepy as hell and you can't help but feel scared for Susie, also Jackson's direction of her dying is so darn good, I really want to tell you about it but I also want to avoid spoiling it for you. The second things from the novel I was concerned over was the scenes where Susie is halfway between Heaven and Earth, they are described but it was the area of the novel that allowed the most elaboration and I just wasn't sure of the direction in which Jackson and Co. would take it. Fear not dear FOOLS because the in between world where Susie is whilst being surreal it also relates to the goings on from her family on Earth, one of the best examples is that Susie's father, played by Mark Wahlberg, builds Ship's in bottles, Susie is walking through her in between world which was a beach and giant ships in bottles begin to wash up on shore, in Earth Susie's father becomes so upset he begins to smash the ships in bottles and in Susie's world the bottles begin to smash into each other releasing the ships that also crash into each other, it was a beautiful scene and at no time does Peter Jackson let the surrealism become too much, which I thought was a downfall of the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
As with all Peter Jackson films, his casting choices are fantastic, firstly I was a little concerned by the casting of Mark Wahlberg as the last few films I've seen him in have been terrible and he has looked really bored but under the guidance of Jackson Wahlberg is convincing as a father dealing with grief and not willing to let go. Also performing well are Rachel Weisz as Susie's mother and Susan Sarandon as Susie's grandmother, Weisz is loving and shows the pain of her loss so well ans Sarandon is a joy as the alcoholic grandmother who ends up running the Salmon household but for me there were two stand outs, the first is Saoirise Ronan who is amazing in her first studio picture, she is able to convey all the emotions the character needed and I can tell you that she is a very promising actor indeed but the best of the film is Stanley Tucci. Tucci is one of those actors I feel never gets enough props I remember him in the TV series Murder One where he blew my mind and I really hope that come Oscar time he is at least nominated because he really is incredible as Mr. Harvey, the man who kills Susie. He is an eerie character who is menacing yet would have the ability to be forgotten if in a crowd. He is so damn good.
If you followed my Moovember this year you would have seen that when I spoke about Steven Spielberg that I believed he understood how to make a complete film and after watching The Lovely Bones I realised that Peter Jackson also gets the complete film experience and The Lovely Bones is a complete film experience. From the emersive 70's sets that never once feels like you are in any other period to the incredible editing to the wonderful soundtrack by Brian Eno. It is a complete film from all areas. I can't give props to Jackson's film making ability, he truly is one of the masters. Look out for Jackson's cameo as well which had the entire audience chuckling at how blatant this one is but everyone was waiting to see him.
I honestly can't heap enough praise onto The Lovely Bones and I'm sure come Oscar time this one should get quite a lot of nominations. It'll be a joke if Tucci isn't nominated, the soundtrack will have to be nominated as well as the editing and I really hope Jackson gets something for it as well, even if it is best adapted screenplay. It is an incredible film which I can't wait to see again so I can get lost in the incredible world betwen Earth and Heaven. This is possibly my favourite film this year.