User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 216 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 36 out of 216
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. MichaelF.
    Jan 19, 2010
    4
    NOTE: I have not read the novel in which this movie is based. In my not-so-humble-opinion, this is Peter Jackson's first misstep as a director and Fran Walsh's first stumble as a writer. This movie was quite a disappointment. The script never gives us a chance to truly get to know these characters and truly feel their grief at the loss of Susie. With the exception of Saoirse NOTE: I have not read the novel in which this movie is based. In my not-so-humble-opinion, this is Peter Jackson's first misstep as a director and Fran Walsh's first stumble as a writer. This movie was quite a disappointment. The script never gives us a chance to truly get to know these characters and truly feel their grief at the loss of Susie. With the exception of Saoirse Ronan's character, we are presented with a bunch of cookie cutter characters. I did not connect with any of the family members. Their suffering is glossed over. The actors did their best with what little material they were given. Especially Susan Surandon - I'm not even sure why she was in the movie - her character added nothing to the plot. Too much time was spent in Susie's "world" as she ran around a CG landscape. The special effects used to show Susie's "purgatory" were horrible. They looked very low-budget, as if they were designed for a made-for-TV-movie. I can't believe this came out of the same effects house that did Avatar (Weta). If you truly are curious to watch this film, I would wait for DVD. Or better yet, spend the money on the book, which I hear is excellent. Expand
  2. BillyS.
    Jan 25, 2010
    5
    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 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. Expand
  3. Nov 8, 2011
    6
    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 made fantasy movie...at least from a technical viewpoint here.
  4. MatthewC
    Dec 28, 2009
    5
    Wow, this is the first time I've actively not-enjoyed a film in ages. It was almost refreshing to realise I still have a sense of taste and opinion!
  5. MathewH
    Dec 14, 2009
    4
    Disappointing. The initial setup is good, and the cinematography luminous, the acting mostly top-notch, and it seems like it could have been a very interesting look at the way a family responds to a terrible tragedy like a child murder. But apart from a few brief moments I didn't see any of the inner and interpersonal conflict that would come from something like this. Instead Jackson Disappointing. The initial setup is good, and the cinematography luminous, the acting mostly top-notch, and it seems like it could have been a very interesting look at the way a family responds to a terrible tragedy like a child murder. But apart from a few brief moments I didn't see any of the inner and interpersonal conflict that would come from something like this. Instead Jackson blasted me with his trademark cgi and changed perspectives often enough that I never had a chance to connect to anyone or invest in it. With that emotional backbone missing it came across as a rather campy catch-the-creepy-killer, a very expensive Lifetime movie. It's like Jackson and his other writers were so enthralled by the story they forgot to tell it. Expand
  6. Mar 28, 2013
    6
    A depressing tale of the young Susie Salmon, whose life is cut short by her serial killer of a neighbor. This film had good actors, but something was missing. Susan Sarandon's role brought some humor into the story, where many parts were sand and gloomy. As I've heard, some points of the novel (that the film is based off of) weren't well translated from text to screen.
  7. AlexA
    Feb 3, 2010
    4
    This movie was just NO. Honestly, try as the actors may to save the film, the plot was pretty damned from the start. WHOLLY predictable, which isn't all that bad when the cast do a good job; HOWEVER, the ending Peter Jackson gave this film ruined it for me. I felt so dam FRUSTRATED at the end of the film. An insult to the brilliant mind of Peter Jackson, who must have tried directing This movie was just NO. Honestly, try as the actors may to save the film, the plot was pretty damned from the start. WHOLLY predictable, which isn't all that bad when the cast do a good job; HOWEVER, the ending Peter Jackson gave this film ruined it for me. I felt so dam FRUSTRATED at the end of the film. An insult to the brilliant mind of Peter Jackson, who must have tried directing this in his sleep. Clap the cast for a good job though. Expand
  8. JakeN
    Feb 6, 2010
    4
    Rather boring then thrilling. All the big flowers and pretty colors are neither beautiful nor entertaining. The acting is absolutely horrible. Let's just put it this way. 'The Lovely Bones' is a total mess that fell out of the sky. I am going to have to say that isn't a bad movie. Though it is pretty lame. The storyline isn't good, but it's not terrible. So Rather boring then thrilling. All the big flowers and pretty colors are neither beautiful nor entertaining. The acting is absolutely horrible. Let's just put it this way. 'The Lovely Bones' is a total mess that fell out of the sky. I am going to have to say that isn't a bad movie. Though it is pretty lame. The storyline isn't good, but it's not terrible. So it's just an-a-okay story. The beginning isn't very bad, but then it just goes to flaw after flaw after flaw after flaw. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz (who play the parnets of Susie Salmon) are the ones with the worst acting in the movie. Also Stanley Tucci does a poor job with his acting as well. There mostly the whole cast of the movie aren't very good with their acting. Oh and all the girls in the 'In Between World', don't get me started with their acting. With the cast awful acting also makes 'The Lovely Bones' not very thrilling. I don't even understand how a movie with bad acting like that could be called thriller at all. All the pretty stuff in the 'In Between World' does not make you want to go 'Whoa!' with all of the acting and random things happening. I also should bring that random things happen and come out of nowhere. It's almost to painful to watch. Expand
  9. ChadS.
    Jan 16, 2010
    4
    The problem with "The Lovely Bones" is that nobody jumps anybody's bones. The filmmaker didn't have the guts. Six years earlier, Lynne Ramsey owned the rights to the Alice Sebold novel, but she bailed around the time that this literary novel unexpectedly found its way into the hands of readers more used to Nicholas Sparks-type fare than a New York Times Notable Book. The The problem with "The Lovely Bones" is that nobody jumps anybody's bones. The filmmaker didn't have the guts. Six years earlier, Lynne Ramsey owned the rights to the Alice Sebold novel, but she bailed around the time that this literary novel unexpectedly found its way into the hands of readers more used to Nicholas Sparks-type fare than a New York Times Notable Book. The Scottish filmmaker, with two highly regarded films to her credit("Ratcatcher" and "Morvern Callar"), both gritty in the best indie tradition, probably wouldn't blink at the prospect of shooting a rape scene involving a minor. She's an artist, after all, not a moralist. Obvious to fans of the 2002 literary sensation, "The Lovely Bones" begs to be smaller in scale, and with Ramsay at the helm, there would've been a deemphasization on visualizing the Salmon girl's realm, which is nothing more than a timekiller. The story is supposed to be about the living. Since the Salmon girl is dead, arguably, all the moviegoer needs is her disembodied voice; the moviegoer will surely find the panoramas of the "In-Between" quite pretty, but inert, like all spectacle, all CGI effects, even the good ones. Worse yet, "The Lovely Bones" chooses the wrong person, the father(Mark Wahlberg), to serve as our entry point into the unconsolable grief felt by the left behind. Lindsey(Amanda Michalka) should have been the one to carry the film, but Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz are big stars, so the younger Salmon girl is reduced to being the catalyst for the film's wrongheaded foray into suspense. (Just like Richard Eyre's adaptation of Zoe Heller's "Notes on a Scandal(What Was She Thinking?)", the film is a lot more suspenseful than the source material.) "The Lovely Bones" needed a woman's touch. Ramsay would have depicted unflinchingly the Judy Blume-esque details of Lindsey's physical relationship with her boyfriend, despite both participants being underaged. It was important to show how the sister's death forced the younger Salmon girl to grow up fast. The sex was a coping mechanism. But, no. The filmmaker tried to outdo Vincent Ward's "What Dreams May Come" in trying to render the best heaven ever. Unfortunately, the blockbuster approach will ultimately disappoint the book's fans. In a nutshell, the filmmaker is afraid of the vagina, even though the female anatomy as depicted in the Sebold novel isn't meant to be the least bit sensationalistic or tittilating. Expand
  10. ChrisK
    Jan 24, 2010
    4
    I thought that this movie was below average. It was bland, and even confusing at times. Don't watch.
  11. Nez
    Jan 28, 2010
    6
    Not bad. A little strange and silly at times yet brutal and shocking at others. The message is a little confusing if there is one. Acting and casting were both good though.
  12. Oct 27, 2010
    5
    My opinion is that the film started very good, it kept me tensed and interested but then got in the idea of heaven and how it was described was very bad. First you think that her fathers investigation will lead to the truth, but then somehow she sends him signal from heaven and he starts to suspect him, although it was emotional which i was i gave it 5, the movie needed more scenes likeMy opinion is that the film started very good, it kept me tensed and interested but then got in the idea of heaven and how it was described was very bad. First you think that her fathers investigation will lead to the truth, but then somehow she sends him signal from heaven and he starts to suspect him, although it was emotional which i was i gave it 5, the movie needed more scenes like the one when her sister finds the book in the neighbors house Expand
  13. Feb 2, 2011
    5
    When I went into this movie, I was expecting nothing but the best because Peter Jackson was directing. After I watched it, I was disappointed, because the only thing that was wrong with the movie, was the directing... He attempted to make a movie that represented two completely different ideas: a thriller about getting justice on the murderer and a fantasy film about the family moving onWhen I went into this movie, I was expecting nothing but the best because Peter Jackson was directing. After I watched it, I was disappointed, because the only thing that was wrong with the movie, was the directing... He attempted to make a movie that represented two completely different ideas: a thriller about getting justice on the murderer and a fantasy film about the family moving on with the girl watching from an area between life and death. Because he had so much story to tell with these two ideas, he left certain aspects unexplained and weak, while focusing too much on others. Even though I'm ashamed of this movie, Peter Jackson is still a legend (Who could forget the fantastic directing of Lord of the Rings?) Expand
  14. Jan 12, 2011
    5
    With Peter Jackson at the helm, and an star cast (including Rachel Weisz and Mark Whalberg) this was looking promising. The story line stems around the death of a teenage girl, and the journey through the various human experiences of existentialism, love, grief and karma - with the story following various character paths. All good so far; unfortunately all the promise that could be seenWith Peter Jackson at the helm, and an star cast (including Rachel Weisz and Mark Whalberg) this was looking promising. The story line stems around the death of a teenage girl, and the journey through the various human experiences of existentialism, love, grief and karma - with the story following various character paths. All good so far; unfortunately all the promise that could be seen 'on paper,' falls short to live up to the all-star cast, with even the talisman that is Jackson at it's helm, it cannot be rescued from a mediocre status; a movie full of an inflated sense of self importance, semi-broken plot lines, which are just barely rescued by the talent at hand.
    That said, it was certainly not a poor movie by any standards, and still a worthwhile watch - just don't expect to be enlightened, or have an inimitable urge to re-watch 'The Lovely Bones'.
    Expand
  15. Aug 4, 2011
    5
    Peter Jackson was from a far than ideal position when making The Lovely Bones. Receiving both audience and critical acclaim for his Lord of the Rings Trilogy, then braving an ambitiously epic remake of his own favourite film King Kong, audiences were expecting something spectacular. In making The Lovely Bones, Jackson has the unenviable task of depicting the afterlife on film. No matterPeter Jackson was from a far than ideal position when making The Lovely Bones. Receiving both audience and critical acclaim for his Lord of the Rings Trilogy, then braving an ambitiously epic remake of his own favourite film King Kong, audiences were expecting something spectacular. In making The Lovely Bones, Jackson has the unenviable task of depicting the afterlife on film. No matter which direction he went in, he was bound to be chastised by somebody. In my humble opinion, not having read the book the film is based on, I feel Jackson has made a film of both numerous successes and failures. All scenes grounded in reality, dealing with Susie Salmon's murder and the aftermath are superb. They are dark, and emotional to the point of heartbreak. You really feel for Susie, a young and optimistic dreamer full of potential, whose life is cut tragically short. Mark Wahlberg also impresses as her father, who is unable to let go of his daughter's memory, and who is driven to investigate her murder himself. Wahlberg once again proves himself to be an extremely competent and versitile actor who deserves far more acclaim than he has thus far received. While these moments are truly memorable, when attention shifts to Susie in limbo, Jackson appears to lose focus. This is a world populated by jarring visuals and half-baked ideas. You despair every time you have to return to this world - it's not only unfocused and ill-defined, the afterlife is really boring! Give us more of Stanly Tucci's creepy child-killer and Susie's family's heartache, we want no more technicolour philosophical ramblings! Jackson had an almighty challenge to face, and he had a degree of success, but not nearly enough to make a lasting, impressionable film. Expand
  16. Dec 18, 2013
    6
    The Lovely Bones was an award winning novel, turned into a major motion picture in 2009. Peter Jackson signed on to Direct and Steven Spielberg was the Executive Producer, so the budget for this film was massive, but it didn't do so well, leading people to believe it was a bad movie. While it was different from what the readers expected, the film was still better than average. The story isThe Lovely Bones was an award winning novel, turned into a major motion picture in 2009. Peter Jackson signed on to Direct and Steven Spielberg was the Executive Producer, so the budget for this film was massive, but it didn't do so well, leading people to believe it was a bad movie. While it was different from what the readers expected, the film was still better than average. The story is told by Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), a 14 year old girl, who was murdered. Susie introduces us to her family and to her killer in what I saw as a mix between Ghost and What Dreams May Come. The story is extremely strong and very well written, but it isn't without it's problems. For instance, we learn the identity of the murderer almost immediately. There are also huge gaps in the story between when we see Susie in purgatory and when we see her families again. Saorise Ronan plays Susie and continues to amaze me. I honestly haven't been that crazy about most of the films I've seen her in, but she never seizes to amaze me. It really is only a matter of time until she's in the right film and gets national attention. By then, not only will people know her name, but they'll know how to pronounce it too. She is supported by some big names like Stanley Tucci, who at this point in his career has convinced me that he can play just about any role. The Lovely Bones is a great story, but it wasn't done in a way that appeals to mass audiences. The scenes in purgatory were never ending and there are big holes in the story, but the cast is terrific and the story is really good. If you're into films that stray from the norm, you might really enjoy this one. Expand
  17. Aug 24, 2014
    5
    On one hand, you have a film wasting its opportunity to be a beautiful adaptation of a beloved book--and the other, an Oscar-worthy performance from Stanley Tucci.
  18. Apr 1, 2012
    5
    Peter Jackson has finally screwed up. Though not terrible, the movie was a disgrace compared to his other films. The problem with The Lovely Bones was that Mr. Jackson blurs reality and with non reality and the movie loses your interest because of that.
  19. Nov 21, 2014
    6
    What else starts sigh is its stunning art direction, surreal scenarios, photography and visual effects. Already in the category plot, she is very badly handled, becoming forced showing that Jackson does not know what he really wants to do or show.
  20. Jul 5, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. What a disappointment. This film is confusing at best, boring at worst. I really don't know what it was trying to say.
    The visual effects were pleasant, but in reality almost irrelevant to the main plot. There was little to no connection to the characters; you could not feel the pain of the grieving mother (or see the exact reasoning behind any of her actions), you could not feel the drive of the father to find his daughter's murderer, and heck, you were not sure what is was that you where suppose to be feeling for Susie! Her anger towards her murderer? Peace as she lets go? A sense of closure? I really don't know.
    The sub-plot regarding Susie and Ray was also distracting, and offered nothing to the main plot, and the same could be said about Susan Sarandon's grandmother; no idea why they where there.
    It was not the acting at fault here, seeing as most did an adequate job. Saoirse Ronan was acceptable, but not mind-blowing (in fact I preferred the acting of Rose McIver who did a convincing transition from younger sister to older, focused, driven teen). If you wanted an excellent performance in this film, you needed to look no further than Stanley Tucci's creepy Mr Harvey, a performance that overshadows everything in this film.
    What was missing in this film was the intensity or the drama you would expect in scenes like when the father sees his daughter through the window or hears her voice on the streets (honestly, you were suppose to be getting chills down your spine in such scenes, but instead I found myself wondering if I locked the front door before leaving the house).
    Overall the lack of empathy with the characters, the distracting, unnecessary scenes and characters, and the inconsistent pace made this film very bland.
    Expand
  21. Nov 16, 2013
    5
    The Lovely Bones isn't tender enough.
    The movie is slow, long, and in some points boring. The concept is extremely predictable and the good acting can't save it. There isn't much sympathy for Ronan's teenage character as you know little about her other than her interest in a boy, and the same goes for Walhberg's as you know little to nothing about him other than he misses his daughter.
    The Lovely Bones isn't tender enough.
    The movie is slow, long, and in some points boring. The concept is extremely predictable and the good acting can't save it. There isn't much sympathy for Ronan's teenage character as you know little about her other than her interest in a boy, and the same goes for Walhberg's as you know little to nothing about him other than he misses his daughter. The problem is that the movie isn't sad mainly because of the lack of knowledge given to the audience, and the lack of depth displayed in the personalities. The characters don't feel real enough to be moving or exciting.
    Expand
  22. Jun 5, 2015
    6
    Not as good as I hoped it would be. It starts off really well, then about the time Susie is murdered it slowly dies away. It is also too long (which proves that it was written by Peter Jackson). However, the characters are very likable and the movie has excellent performances by Saoirse Ronan and Stanley Tucci.
Metascore
42

Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 36
  2. Negative: 10 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    80
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    50
    How do you literalize heaven? It's a problem moviemakers have struggled with forever, and Jackson hasn't solved it.
  3. 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.