User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 213 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 36 out of 213
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  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. Sep 25, 2010
    0
    A really bad film! the characters had no depth, the scene seemed to go from bad to worse and dragged on and on. Coupled with a lack of realism and what looks like and LSD job, the movie fails to deliver completely.
    There's instances where you feel drawn in, but then the story just throws you out again, even the end doesn't seem to be a conclusion, just something left cos the director had
    A really bad film! the characters had no depth, the scene seemed to go from bad to worse and dragged on and on. Coupled with a lack of realism and what looks like and LSD job, the movie fails to deliver completely.
    There's instances where you feel drawn in, but then the story just throws you out again, even the end doesn't seem to be a conclusion, just something left cos the director had his pizza delivered. A real hack job of a movie, although I hear the books isn't much better.

    Something to watch while you're having a lobotomy, cos it'll feel like you've had one after watching this.
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  3. DanE
    Jan 29, 2010
    0
    This is the worst movie I have ever seen...ever. About a third of the way through I found myself hoping that it would just end. There is little to no character development and many scenes are drawn out and incoherent. This movie could easily have forty to fifty minutes cut out with no loss in continuity. Save your money and your time. Read the book.
  4. Nov 24, 2010
    3
    I have waited over a year to watch this move, the reason you ask: well after reading and loving the book, I couldnt wait for the movie and with baited breath caught the first trailer for it on tv, it started well enough with Susie salmon declaring she was dead and then the next scene was of a massive ship breaking out of a even bigger glass bottle and trees turning into birgs...WTF...So II have waited over a year to watch this move, the reason you ask: well after reading and loving the book, I couldnt wait for the movie and with baited breath caught the first trailer for it on tv, it started well enough with Susie salmon declaring she was dead and then the next scene was of a massive ship breaking out of a even bigger glass bottle and trees turning into birgs...WTF...So I gave it a miss!! So after a year of walking past it countless times at the video shop I finally gave it a go...and I wasnt wrong to wait for DVD!! Peter jackson in all his incredibleness (yes that is sarcastic) has fallen into the biggest directors trap (ahem...Steven Spielberg and A.I.) and that is, "just cause you can do something...DOESNT MEAN YOU SHOULD!!! The whole heaven concept is ridiculous and a simple voiceover would have sufficed and focused more on the real story, that of her family and longings!!This movie could have been magical and fantastical had it trusted our imaginations, as the book did. Mr Jackson has taken out all its magic and force fed us with fantasy scenes that belong more in Disneys fantasia than in a tragic story such as this!!! What kills me is that this movie could have just been so good...oh well, lets wait for the swedish to remake it!!! Expand
  5. SamuelF
    Jan 15, 2010
    1
    The worst movie ever. It's attempts to be original and creative develop into a spectacular mess. Fans of symbolism and imagery will try to make excuses for the film, but do not be fooled it is pathetic. I know the theater agreed with me because they all starting booing, talking and leaving 34 through the movie. Don't waste your money,your bandwidth heck dont waste a second of The worst movie ever. It's attempts to be original and creative develop into a spectacular mess. Fans of symbolism and imagery will try to make excuses for the film, but do not be fooled it is pathetic. I know the theater agreed with me because they all starting booing, talking and leaving 34 through the movie. Don't waste your money,your bandwidth heck dont waste a second of your life on this film. Expand
  6. RyanM.
    Apr 19, 2010
    3
    Just awful. So botched by Jackson. Silly at times, ridiculous CGI and poor development of characters. The whole heaven idea and the people there was just laughable and detracted from the movie. Only saving grace for me was Tucci was creepy and obviously the best actor here.
  7. StellaT.
    Jan 1, 2010
    2
    First, the book. I think Alice Sebold is a bold and clever writer, only not good enough to sustain the interest through to the end. The idea of writing from afterlife should be suspenseful and powerful, in which case I think its much debated comparison, Forgiving Ararat by Gita Nazareth, to fare better in terms of quality and the flow of plots. Movie-wise, it deteriorates further. The big First, the book. I think Alice Sebold is a bold and clever writer, only not good enough to sustain the interest through to the end. The idea of writing from afterlife should be suspenseful and powerful, in which case I think its much debated comparison, Forgiving Ararat by Gita Nazareth, to fare better in terms of quality and the flow of plots. Movie-wise, it deteriorates further. The big ideas that were present in the book, albeit poorly constructed, were altogether absent from the movie. If you only care for the extra effects, then by all means go watch the movie. But if you're after something deeper and more substantial, well... choose another book to read. Expand
  8. 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
  9. DoctorT
    Dec 12, 2009
    2
    Dire, sentimental and very ugly, so much for the great Oscar hope. Only Saoirse Ronan saves this from complete catastrophe.
  10. Jun 28, 2013
    0
    Peter Jackson should hang it up big time along with his buddy Speilberg. What was this?? It was stupid trash, that is what it was.Don't waste your time with this trash.
  11. 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
  12. killdarren
    Feb 13, 2010
    0
    I love it when the universe aligns itself. A horrible book is now an even more horrible movie. Jackson let the hype get to his inflated head. This is one of the most blatant show offy films in a long while and I've seen Nine. 2009 might have been one of the worst years for film. Everything was forgettable!
  13. GavinQ.
    Feb 1, 2010
    3
    Awful movie. Only gets 3 because of Saoirse Ronan. Wahlberg was terrible.
  14. 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. Collapse
  15. 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
  16. LarryT.
    Jan 25, 2010
    0
    This movie has to be the worst of the decade! Pointless, boring, poor acting and script! You'll feel "taken" after spending the money to see such a failure. Hollywood doesn't get it! Movies like this give the industry a bad name.
  17. ChrisK
    Jan 24, 2010
    4
    I thought that this movie was below average. It was bland, and even confusing at times. Don't watch.
  18. Jan 29, 2011
    1
    Entirely too long. Entirely too stupid. Entirely too boring. There was less drama in the OJ Simpson trial. I'll never get this time back. I would have gladly chopped off one of my own lovely bones to forget I ever saw this movie.
  19. Sep 28, 2010
    2
    Whether or not it may be positive or negative, Peter Jackson will be remembered as one most prominent directors of the 21st century - I am not of course discounting his work in 1990's Heavenly Creatures. After directing perhaps an unsurpassed trilogy of Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings, Jackson once again attempts to recreate literature, but now approaches a work that is more contemporary withWhether or not it may be positive or negative, Peter Jackson will be remembered as one most prominent directors of the 21st century - I am not of course discounting his work in 1990's Heavenly Creatures. After directing perhaps an unsurpassed trilogy of Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings, Jackson once again attempts to recreate literature, but now approaches a work that is more contemporary with The Lovely Bones. But unlike the success in which he recreated the Lord of the Rings to near perfection, Jackson completely misses the mark on this one.

    The Lovely Bones is a film adaption of Alice Sebold's novel of the same name. Bones is a story of a teenage girl, Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), who is killed and watches her family from heaven, where she must let go of her past in order to achieve true nirvana. While the movie and the novel seemingly share the same premise, the message of "letting-go" that was conveyed in the novel was evidently lost in the film. Peter Jackson fails to recreate the true essence of the book, only emulating the exterior of Sebold's work.

    Besides the off-target plot, The Lovely Bones is undoubtedly a mess. There are so many transitions between Salmon's heaven and the 'real word,' that an attempt at being stylish turns into a muddle of confusion. The film is a CGI nightmare, as it possesses an endless amount of effects that is incredibly unnecessary. Originally simple in the novel, Salmon's heaven seems as if it comes from a laughable cartoon. Additionally, the film creates an uncanny amount of uncalled for instances of suspense and drama. While the film does succeed at some points, most of the melodrama employed fails.

    The only redeemable aspect of the movie is the acting. Stanley Tucci, who plays the spine-chilling murderer, plays his character in an aptness manner, creating a sense of uneasiness within the audience. Saoirse Ronan (who played the strange sister in Atonement) does an adequate job in narrating and reprising a role of a common teen. While Ronan and Tucci excel, Mark Wahlberg performs a less than average job acting as a disgruntled father. I do not expect much from Wahlberg's acting (does anyone remember The Happening?), so I do not feel the need to expand on my opinion.

    The Lovely Bones is downright disappointing. People watching the film without any knowledge of the novel will question the thousands of readers who have. Even though the adaptation does recreate some of the novel's finest moments, it really should have stayed on the bookshelf where it belongs.
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  20. Mar 7, 2011
    3
    After watching this movie I wanted to through it out the window, all of the characters seem brain dead, I mean come on you've got the proof of the murder TELL YOUR PARENTS DON"T JUST STAND THERE LIKE A RETARD!!!! and it's just an unenjoyable movie, I mean it's a good concept, that if improved upon could make a great movie, but for now it sucks.
  21. 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.
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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.