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. JohnB
    Jan 5, 2010
    10
    Very beautiful and moving film. Love it lots, especially Saoirse Ronan, who is simply the Best.
  2. D.F.N
    Jan 3, 2010
    9
    A little slow in parts, but a beautiful crafted film with terrific cinematography. The cast is excellent. Just the right combination of touching and suspenseful.
  3. 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
  4. HamishG
    Dec 31, 2009
    8
    Although I found the script a little weak in places, and the cgi spiritual a little obvious and unnecessary I was still engrossed from start to finish and consider it one of the best entries into Peter Jackson's back catalogue. Watch Heavenly Creatures for reference. These other reviewers don't get the film because they're expected either a typical Hollywood family film or Although I found the script a little weak in places, and the cgi spiritual a little obvious and unnecessary I was still engrossed from start to finish and consider it one of the best entries into Peter Jackson's back catalogue. Watch Heavenly Creatures for reference. These other reviewers don't get the film because they're expected either a typical Hollywood family film or thriller. This film is neither. Its a unique and imaginative fantasy drama. Its subversive and feels like an independent film made with a mega budget. Perhaps the film would have been received more positive if it was marketed in a less Hollywood way. Keep it up pete, you the man. Expand
  5. BobE
    Dec 31, 2009
    10
    Beautiful portrayal of the abtract and ethereal consequences of tragic loss - an amazingly accurate portrayal of a unique and thought provoking novel.
  6. StevenM.
    Jan 16, 2010
    8
    I thought this movie was very moving and beautiful. Ronan and Tucci give incredible performances. The horror of Susie's death drives this movie throughout. You feel sympathy and remorse for her and her family and you want something good to happen for her and in the end it does. This film reminds us all how precious and brief our lives are and the hole we leave for others when we are I thought this movie was very moving and beautiful. Ronan and Tucci give incredible performances. The horror of Susie's death drives this movie throughout. You feel sympathy and remorse for her and her family and you want something good to happen for her and in the end it does. This film reminds us all how precious and brief our lives are and the hole we leave for others when we are gone. Jackson did a terrific job. Expand
  7. jonathann
    Jan 12, 2010
    8
    Beautifully rendered vision of the book. Gripping and moving. A pleasure to watch.
  8. CC
    Dec 14, 2009
    9
    I did not read the book but this film makes me cry all the way through. I will recommend all parents with teen age daughter to watch this film. I am against all critics and believe Peter Jackson did another master piece after Lord of the Rong and king Koun.
  9. 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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  10. Jun 9, 2013
    8
    It really is quite a beautiful movie. It is rather unique. Acting is great along with the pace. The ending is sad but a spectacle at the same time. I didn't know what to expect from this movie but it certainly pulled through.
  11. Jul 8, 2012
    7
    Peter Jackson is not as good as he was in the lord of the rings,but this movie has good performances,amazing visuals and a script that touches the heart.
  12. Jun 11, 2013
    9
    Its TOTALLY underrated! Its visually stunning, well acted, well directed, it had an interesting premise and some very intense scenes! It had it's share of suspenseful moments and it's touching moments and that's hard to do that as well as this movie does it. I loved the movie and I believe that it should have gotten the ratings it deserved. And no, I'm not going to say I would recommend itIts TOTALLY underrated! Its visually stunning, well acted, well directed, it had an interesting premise and some very intense scenes! It had it's share of suspenseful moments and it's touching moments and that's hard to do that as well as this movie does it. I loved the movie and I believe that it should have gotten the ratings it deserved. And no, I'm not going to say I would recommend it to everyone, because it's not for everyone, my mother refuses to watch it due to its premise of a innocent teen being brutally murdered. It does seem quite upsetting at points and if young kids would watch it, it may cause them nightmares. But it's a good movie Expand
  13. 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. Collapse
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Dec 16, 2012
    7
    42... emm.... what the heck!? Maybe it is not a masterpiece, but it is a very good film and not a movie of 42 score... OMG and films like Breaking Down has more score...
  17. Dec 18, 2011
    7
    Saoirse 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.
  18. 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
  19. Jun 22, 2011
    10
    A beautifully crafted film that resonates with evil, love, vengeance, and the devastating effects of the death of a child at the hands of a serial killer. The critics who pan this movie must be bereft of sensation. I thought it was mesmerising!
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. EmilioA.
    Jan 20, 2010
    10
    It such a beautiful and emotional film that give movie real power, ronan performance was perfect, peter Jackson the greatest director of the decade show he can visualize the perfect heaven and the ugly human world of the killer
  23. 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!
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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.
  27. Sep 23, 2011
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Coming to this long after the critics had mauled it, I was surprised and impressed with how good it is. I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on its fidelity to source material, but Jackson creates hyper-real worlds where saturated seventies garish and the usual unforgiving close-ups he adores somehow endow genre stereotypes with a peculiarly hallucinogenic depth. Oddly, the spacious landscapes of the afterlife somehow feel more real than the suffocating scenes of suburbia and the household, but perhaps that's wishful thinking!

    I can't help thinking that what was expected was a satisfying moral fable, and the unexpected conclusion will have disappointed those wanting earthly justice rather than just desserts. I wonder if that's why critics like Roger Ebert ("a deplorable film") could be so thrown off balance that that they don't even follow the plot (the "lovely bones" do not belong to Susie) and obsess about whether the heaven presented is factually accurate! The fact is that the ending is truer to life than Ebert gives it credit. As a fan of Brian Eno, I guess I'm biased, but I thought the climax of the film, accompanied by his "The Big Ship" had more emotional draw than either of the big endings of KK and LOTR. Tucci was fantastically creepy (though he seemed to have based his style on Dustin Hoffman's tics and murmurs) and anyone who thinks that Jackson shied away from the horror of the murder has just become desensitised by graphic violence, failing to sense the evil in even the most mundane encounters with George Harvey.

    My only caveat was that some scenes seemed a touch too long, but perhaps brisker editing would have turned it into the thriller that some thought it should have been, and it would have lost the lyrical, elegiac quality that made it so absorbing.

    Now, back to my Eno collection and 'Small Craft on a Milk Sea.'
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  28. 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.
  29. 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.
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.