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Sunday, 24 February 2019 01:07 pm

Lovely journey through all that grief can throw at us

lovely mainPETER JACKSON successfully brings together multiple genres to make an emotionally charged film of The Lovely Bones.

Heart-pounding moments are seamlessly followed by tear-jerking or laugh-out-loud scenes, pulling the viewers emotions in all different directions.

The movie is based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Alice Sebold.

It follows 14-year-old Susie Salmon, played by Saiorse Ronan, who is brutally raped and murdered in 1973 Philadelphia and who then watches over her family after her death from a stylised heaven, or “the in between”.

Jackson’s version of the in-between is visually stunning. Using his computer-generated imagery (CGI) brilliance, he makes a dream-like world that reflects Susie’s reactions to what she sees back on Earth. Kiwis may recognise some of the scenery from the South Island.

The talented cast give stellar performances, bringing a very personal touch to counter the magical in-between.

Stanley Tucci, as George Harvey, Susie’s killer, plays a man who puts out a friendly public persona, but then turns into a seedy, terrifying serial killer in the blink of an eye – without saying more than a few words in the whole film.

Saiorse Ronan provides another top performance following her Oscar nomination for Atonement. It is hard to believe that she is only 13 years old in the film as she shows the talent of a seasoned veteran.

Grandma Lynn, played by Susan Sarandon, brings a lighter edge to the film and provides some very funny moments with her blunt truths and terrible smoking and drinking habits.

Susie’s parents, played by Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz, are terrific in showing the different ways that people grieve, and Kiwi Rose McIver plays with ease a difficult role where her age changes from 11 to 18, as Susie’s sister Lindsey.

The film could not be a more radical departure for Jackson, best known for his Lord of the Rings and King Kong past. He mixes the CGI images with real-life Philadelphia with ease.

The costumes, the set, and colloquialisms like “the skeevies”, give a feel that it is 1973, and the efforts of the props department in making a shopping mall appear authentic give a real sense of the era of the story. The worrying thing is that it brings to mind some of New Zealand’s shopping malls from about five years ago.

The Lovely Bones is unique in its successful use of drama, fantasy, thriller, and comedy in that they never appear forced or out of place together.

The movie opened on December 11 in the United States, and will open on Boxing Day in New Zealand.

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is a Whitireia Journalism Student. Now working at the Kapiti Observer as a sports and emergency services reporter.
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