Click here to read about why I am reviewing movies and join in the fun.
So you enjoyed Tuesdays with Maurie and The Five People You Meet In Heaven, you enjoyed the “twist” in Sixth Sense, you enjoyed the over the top graphics of Avatar, but you wish you could cram them all into a single movie? Boy do I have 135 minutes of pure enjoyment for you then. For anyone else that thought that all those things could never be put into a single movie and still make sense… you would be correct.
The Lovely Bones is a story told from the view point of a dead girl reliving her time in the time between her death and entering heaven. Suzy Salmon ins a 14 year old girl who was tricked into an underground bunker and murdered by a neighbor. Following her death, Suzy refuses to let go of her past life/family and attempts to will her loved ones to find her murderer. ALong the way you follow the life of the murderer (Played wonderfully by Stanley Tucci), her father (played quite miserably by Mark Wahlberg), her mother (played by one of my all-time crushes Rachel Weisz) and her siblings. Each sees the death in a different way and also deals with it differently. At some point they all “see” Suzy however and eventually the clues left and the interaction Suzy has from beyond the grave leads to her murderer.
In between the scenes when we are following the living, there are beautiful yet extremely useless and painfully underdeveloped scenes from “the between.” AT one point Suzy is shown flying through a cosmos as if the ideal of heaven is somewhere in the reaches of outer space. The juxtaposition of the two worlds is handled with such a heavy hand with an attempt to WOW the audience that it feels as if you are watching to different movies on television and switching between the channels. About 20 minutes into the movie you know who the killer is, yet the script never takes you inside the killers head. Instead you keep getting glimpses of what could be a great movie and then you are thrown into a giant field of wheat and butterflies. The next second you are back gritty Pennsylvania following a grieving family. Either sides of the movie could have been wonderful as separate movies (in fact you can see those movies already made by watching American Beauty and What Dreams May Come) but together it makes for a mess of a plot and a rather lengthy and almost painful viewing experience.
To be completely honest, I felt the movie was at least 35-40 minutes too long, the ending was more than sappy enough to fit the rest of the poor excuse for a script and the entire movie just felt like a forced attempt to remake the Sixth Sense but as a “chick flick.” Quotes like “She is in the inbetween” coming from a four year old or have entire scenes written just to prove you can do cool visual effects (the heaven scenes felt like a bad remake of The Cell with Jennifer Lopez). It is a real shame as I hear the book is really quite good and the cast of actors are really quite amazing for this film. In the end I just felt like the movie was trying far too many different story lines and angles without ever being about a murder investigation, copping with loss or a touching love story. Instead you get 135 minutes of mediocre script and a plot that you just wish would go somewhere.
Movies with nearly the same plot and “twist,” but with a better story include: