Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 207 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The Lovely Bones centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal. (Paramount Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 36
  2. Negative: 10 out of 36
  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: Richard Corliss
    When else has the obscenity of child murder been the cause of such gravity and grace?
  3. Hovers just this side of "Ghost Whisperer" kitsch but remains compulsively watchable thanks to its smart ensemble cast
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 78
  2. Negative: 15 out of 78
  1. JohnB
    Jan 5, 2010
    Very beautiful and moving film. Love it lots, especially Saoirse Ronan, who is simply the Best.
  2. Sep 23, 2011
    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.'
  3. Aug 15, 2014
    One flew over the cuckoo's nest is a strange but brilliant cinematic piece. Jack Nicholson without a doubt proves illness can be cured with innocence and assurance. Expand
  4. Dec 10, 2010
    Just when you start to feel sad- BOOM THERES A DOUBLE RAINBOW!!! Sorry I couldnt be helped. But yeah, the contrast between grief and giant rainbows and butterflies is pretty nicely done. I actually enjoyed this movie. I love Mark W's constantly confused-looking face, it warms my heart. There was too much time spent in rainbowland, I agree with most people here, but one thing i disagree with is: Character development. This was decent enough, for the time spent in the real world. The father goes from obsessive ship builder to crazed obsessive maniac daddy from hell, the sister goes from being an extra to an active character (did she have any lines at all??), and the son, went from almost suffocating to a half mentally challenged cild, hooray. I did not like the mothers character. Waah, im portraying the familys grief, and im gonna go abandon my kids... Its not deep, but when you cut out all the rainbows the movie is rather short, and there wasnt much time for them to develop more than this. Definately worth a watch (or a stream) at leat once. Its great for someone like me, who lacks emotional capacity and is easily distracted by bright shiny rainbows ^^. Expand
  5. Aug 24, 2014
    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. Expand
  6. Jul 5, 2013
    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.
  7. LarryT.
    Jan 25, 2010
    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. Expand

See all 78 User Reviews


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