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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 197 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: 45 out of 75
  2. Negative: 15 out of 75
  1. Jun 22, 2011
    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! Expand
  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. Dec 12, 2013
    While choppy in terms of storytelling, it kind of fits in with the situation. Ronan and Tucci fit their characters perfectly and as a result produce a heartfelt and powerful watch. Expand
  4. Jan 20, 2011
    THE LOVELY BONES based on a best-selling novel written by Alice Sebold. The story about a girl named Susie who has been murdered and her vacillation between earth and heaven. If you watched the trailer, the movie offers tremendous images of heaven. But, after I watched it, substantively I did not find surprising element on that description. The heaven images have similarity on what we seen in WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (1998). But in the other hand, I think the movie was successfully delivered the drama in a romantic and beautifully way. The essence of the story is simple, but we can feel clearly sorrow and confusion around the characters. The narration and glimpse of the Susie past in the beginning of film brings us sufficient mood to build sympathy. The Scene was involving Suzie and her boyfriend, Brian (Jack Kebel) is a scene-stealer on thiz movie. Thiz is a recent movie directed by Peter Jackson, one of the greatest Directors in our era (LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy (2001-2003) and KING KONG (2005)). Susie Salmon played by Saoirse Ronan. Ronan made her promising debut on great drama ATONEMENT in 2007. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz played as her parents and Susan Sarandon as her grandmother. The villains played convincingly by Stanley Tucci. I think Saoirse Ronan has a potential skill to become a great Actress in the future, even greater than Dakota Fanning.

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  5. Dec 18, 2013
    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 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
  6. Aug 4, 2011
    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 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
  7. Mar 9, 2012

See all 75 User Reviews


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