Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Lovely Bones

This movie leaves you numb.

I was spellbound waiting in anticipation of what I knew was to come.
It's rare to know how something is going to turn out and yet still be caught up in the drama as it unfolds for us. For this slight of hand I have to take my hat off to Peter Jackson. Just when you thought he was perhaps a slave to the special effect he reminds you that he is foremost an excellent filmmaker with a unique and special gift for telling a story.

'Lovely' is the way this film draws you into the story with kid gloves. Even the most squimish can share in the difficult and painful subject of loss. 'Lovely' is the performance of the newcomer Saoirse Ronan. Her narration is haunting, natural and drenched in innocence. Her on screen performance is just as good. Although dead for a large portion of the story Alice is alive in her own perfect surreal world where the dead speak to us in the tiny nuances of shared memories. Some of those who read the book may take objection to how Peter Jackson conceptualized this world onto the screen. My answer to them is 'come on' cut the guy a break, it looked fine to me and who out there really knows what it should look like anyways.

The film is a lesson on looking back at loss. It shows us how the families left behind are stuck looking back on what might have been. The story gives us a behind closed doors look at how a premature death destroys a family. We see two obesessions in this film. One family member is driven to hold onto hope while another expeiences a unrelenting need to let go. This opposition can often tear at the seams of a family. As a grief counsellor will tell you, everyone has to experience the grief in their own way and this movie shows us how opposing coping skills can affect a family.

The camera is uncharacteristically neutral when it peers into the killer's life played hauntingly by Stanly Tucci. It chronicals how he progreses from emptiness, to feeling safe, to obsessed, to confidence and finally to the emptiness that he started with when he has finally accomplished his destruction.

Mark Walburg is developping into a very good dramatic and comedic actor. He was great here as the obsessed father.

In the end (without giving anything away here) I think the story teller is trying to suggest that the living can not let the dead go until the dead can let them go. And the dead cannot let them go until they are finished with what they have left undone in the real world. Kind of a nice way to explain the possible existance of ghosts.

Love, its good and its bad has not been so profoundly displayed on film for a long time. I suggest you see this movie.

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