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The Lovely Bones

The story of a life and everything that came after... 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Peter Jackson 
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz  
An image from The Lovely Bones

Based on the best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, the story revolves around Susie Salmon (Ronan), a 14-year-old girl who has just been brutally murdered by her neighbour. Through Susie’s omniscient perspective in the afterlife we follow the hunt for her killer, the growth of her siblings and how her family copes with such a profound loss. Susie’s absence permeates their lives, constantly and consistently. This film has elements of a thriller, teenage drama, serial killer exploration, and expressionist fantasy. However, its depth lies firmly in the depictions of the growth and maturing of Susie.

Jackson has once again teamed up with Weta Digital to create a dazzling, sensuous world of fantasy and fairy tale. Do not be fooled by the subject matter; the film does not present us with a thriller, but an ethereal fantasy world. The astral plane that Susie inhabits is sweeping in colour, texture and soundtrack. It fluctuates between images of a dream world and a nightmare, redrawing the lines of reality. Its milieu is akin to Jackson’s earlier work Heavenly Creatures, and the blurring of the ‘in-between’ where Susie remains and the reality that her family occupy pushes the films sense of fantasy further. The dreaded cornfield that the action centres around is eerie, threatening and fantastical.

Mark Walhberg’s performance is superb as a father torn apart by the loss of a child, and Saoirse Ronan is wonderful, portraying Susie as an intelligent, endearing and affectionate character. She fills her starring role with charm, exhilaration and allure. Don’t let thoughts of depression and melancholy deter you, as although it contains scenes with vigorous emotions, the film is far from sentimental. It has a poignant tone, a captivating plot and mesmerising imagery.

Kate Moore

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Summer Term (35mm)
2009/2010 Summer Term (35mm)