Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 36
  2. Negative: 10 out of 36
Watch On
  1. 91
    As someone new to the material, I found Jackson’s film soulful, respectful, masterful, horrifying, rending and emotionally true. It may not be the Lovely Bones that you have in mind, but it’s a fine and powerful one.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Like “The Lord Of The Rings,” The Lovely Bones does a fantastic job with revered, complex source material. As terrific on terra firma as it is audacious in its astral plane, it is doubtful we’ll see a more imaginative, courageous film in 2010.
  3. 75
    All this is conveyed in the remarkable performance of Ronan, an Oscar nominee for Atonement. She and Tucci -- magnificent as a man of uncontrollable impulses -- help Jackson cut a path to a humanity that supersedes life and death.
  4. Yet so much about The Lovely Bones is so skillfully orchestrated, from the chillingly methodical villainy to the thrillingly paced manhunt, we can accept that we're in the hands of a higher power.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    When else has the obscenity of child murder been the cause of such gravity and grace?
  6. 63
    It's all a gorgeous error, a bonfire of overreach.
  7. 63
    Though properly chilling when it’s supposed to be, it’s a film whose effects, script and performances keep it at arm’s length when it is supposed to be moving.
  8. It’s a movie that tips toward overkill--even Ronan’s voice is amplified into a weird whisper. More quiet would have helped.
  9. Hovers just this side of "Ghost Whisperer" kitsch but remains compulsively watchable thanks to its smart ensemble cast
  10. A sad-but-hopeful, dramatic-but-gentle fairy tale intentionally made less upsetting for teens.
  11. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    How do you literalize heaven? It's a problem moviemakers have struggled with forever, and Jackson hasn't solved it.
  12. Jackson and his team tell a fundamentally different story. It's one that is not without its tension, humor and compelling details. But it's also a simpler, more button-pushing tale that misses the joy and heartbreak of the original.
  13. 50
    The Lovely Bones has been fashioned as a holiday family movie about murder and grief; it’s a thoroughly queasy experience.
  14. 50
    For all its successes, Bones remains more crafted than sincere, more meant to look achingly pretty on the screen than to resonate in the heart.
  15. 50
    The filmmakers’ evident affection for the book expresses itself as a desperate scramble to include as much of it as possible, which leaves the movie feeling both overcrowded and thin.
  16. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    If The Lovely Bones, at least for this critic, fails, it's certainly not for lack of metaphysical gumption...It's when the movie returns to earthly life, the prosaic world of suburban cul-de-sacs and family relationships, that it falters.
  17. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Some books are not meant to be adapted to the big screen. Alice Sebold's best-selling The Lovely Bones falls into that category.
  18. By turns warmly sentimental, serial-killer sinister and science-fiction fantastical, The Lovely Bones was an unlikely book to achieve worldwide success. In the film version, those mismatched elements come back to haunt the story, so to speak, making the final product more hit-and-miss than unblemished triumph.
  19. As the murderer, Stanley Tucci is intensely creepy but, like almost everybody else in this movie, he’s more gothic figment than flesh and blood.
  20. 50
    The story told by Jackson's The Lovely Bones is the same as the one related by Sebold, but it lacks the complexity and empathy evident in the book.
  21. It's a competently made movie - in Jackson's hands it could hardly be anything but - yet rarely a moving one.
  22. Jackson has not cast himself well, though. He has slathered the imagery in the wrong kind of wonderment and hyperbole, both on Earth and in heaven.
  23. The Lovely Bones is difficult viewing, a meticulously crafted experiment that, it turns out, wasn't worth it.
  24. The book floats sublimely above its dark theme; the movie sinks into the ridiculous.
  25. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jackson undermines solid work from a good cast with show-offy celestial evocations that severely disrupt the emotional connections with the characters.
  26. I watched the film in an agitated space between engrossed and aghast.
  27. 38
    A deplorable film with this message: If you're a 14-year-old girl who has been brutally raped and murdered by a serial killer, you have a lot to look forward to.
  28. Ronan, however, transcends the script. She's innocent yet wise, gentle yet forceful. She's the one thing in this picture that shows how great a movie The Lovely Bones might have been, had the people who made it believed in the book with all their hearts.
  29. 38
    The result is almost suffocating: a movie that has been tinkered and fussed with until there is no spontaneity left -- no warmth or life or messiness.
  30. It doesn't help any that Wahlberg, looking perpetually dumbstruck, is among the clunkiest line-readers working in movies today.
  31. How the devastating story of the senseless murder of a 14-year-old could be stripped of emotion is a feat in itself, though one of dubious achievement.
  32. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The Lovely Bones, then, is something special: A spectacular, cringe-inducing failure as both a book adaptation and a film.
  33. 25
    It leaves audiences in a limbo every bit as torturous as the one the protagonist is in.
  34. 20
    In Jackson's hands, The Lovely Bones is doubly appalling. Part Disney's "Alice in Wonderland," part Fritz Lang's "M," the movie is horrific yet cloying, alternately distended and abrupt, sometimes poignant and often ridiculous.
  35. 20
    A perfect storm of a movie disaster: You've got good actors fighting a poorly conceived script, under the guidance of a director who can no longer make the distinction between imaginativeness and computer-generated effects. The result is an expensive-looking mess that fails to capture the mood, and the poetry, of its source material.
  36. Peter Jackson siphoned out all the soulfulness that made the author's combination thriller/afterlife fantasy a best-seller. In its place is a gumball-colored potboiler that's more squalid than truly mournful.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 216 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 80
  2. Negative: 15 out of 80
  1. BillyS.
    Jan 25, 2010
    The Lovely Bones is technically a beautiful film, the acting, music, cinematography and production design are excellent, it could be a The Lovely Bones is technically a beautiful film, the acting, music, cinematography and production design are excellent, it could be a emotional film to get swept up in but there lies the problem, there's just too much going on to keep your attention on, is it about the afterlife?,a serial killer?, a crime story? a family drama? It's all of them and more! At on point I was actually reminded of Sally Field in Sybil, which is not what the makers were hoping for I'm sure, but I'll give It a 5 for the artistry and because Saoirse Ronan was so good. Full Review »
  2. Nov 8, 2011
    Despite it's fragile face-paced story that emotionally repeats what it's trying to say, Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones" is a well madeDespite it's fragile face-paced story that emotionally repeats what it's trying to say, Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones" is a well made fantasy least from a technical viewpoint here. Full Review »
  3. Dec 18, 2011
    Saoirse Rohnan leads The Lovely Bones to victory with a mind blowing performance, and Peter Jackson doesn't do a good job by differing visualSaoirse Rohnan leads The Lovely Bones to victory with a mind blowing performance, and Peter Jackson doesn't do a good job by differing visual beauty which it has and utter horror where the whole story is, but it is actually a well made film. I give this movie a 72% of a good one. Full Review »