This week’s DVD review is Peter Jackson’s latest movie “The Lovely Bones”. Based on a novel by Alice Sebold released in 2002, Jackson personally purchased the movie rights with a partner and they took their time to produce what turned out to be a very complex story.
Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is a 14-year-old girl in the early-1970s with a lot of life and a happy heart. The movie begins with life centered on Susie but in a unique vision becomes a narration of her own murder. Her father, Jack Salmon (Mark Wahlberg), cannot cope with her disappearance and undiscovered body, and goes on a rampage to find the person responsible. Walking out on their marriage, Abigail Salmon (Rachel Weisz) leaves the family in search of an escape from the pain in her heart.
The story is told from the eyes of Susie who can’t let go of her earthly family and is stuck in the “in-between” after death. Through the eyes of her family, she tries to give them clues to what happened to her so long ago, and she won’t leave them until closure comes.
Jackson’s direction was surprising to the point of confusion during the “in-between” part of Susie’s journey. Creating a world full of happy colors and the little girl’s creations, Jackson mixes the emotions of a frightened young girl into a more mature Susie who realizes she must let go of her family for them to truly come back together.
A bold move to mix the heavenly fantasy with such a sad and hurtful storyline, I must applaud both Sebold and Jackson. They pulled it off well. This movie, while capturing your emotions with such distress and fear for the young girl, explains to your senses a much higher appreciation of understanding of the fact that we live and die and those around us must continue in our absence.
Jackson’s vision through the afterlife was so unique that after my initial consideration I had to rethink it. Almost a fairy tale yet real enough to cope with, he led Susie into a world where we could understand the connection between the real world at present and her journey at the time. Although a bit fanciful at times, his ideas were on par with the type of direction we have seen from Jackson in “King Kong” and the “Lord of the Rings”.
“The Lovely Bones” is a sad retelling of a true point in American life. A real adaptation to the troubled history of a certain breed of killer, this story has a lot to teach about the workings of a murderer and the difficulty to cope for a torn family.
– Aaron Weiser is a senior in economics. Send comments to email@example.com.