Lovely Bones Hits and Misses

Peter Jackson's adaptation meets mixed reviews
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2009 6:52 AM CST

(Newser) – Peter Jackson's crafts a fantastic vision of the afterlife in The Lovely Bones, say critics, but some feel it came at the expense of the human side of the story of a murdered teen, adapted from the book by Alice Sebold.

  • "By turns warmly sentimental, serial-killer sinister, and science-fiction fantastical, The Lovely Bones was an unlikely book to achieve worldwide success," Kenneth Turan writes in the Los Angeles Times. "Those mismatched elements come back to haunt" the film version, "making the final product more hit-and-miss than unblemished triumph."

  • "Sebold's Lovely Bones is fleshed out with the perilous, irresistible power of sex—a real world of extramarital sex and sex between young lovers in addition to the heinous rape from which moviegoers are shielded." But Jackson "shies from the challenge, shortchanging a story that isn't only about the lightness of souls in heaven but also about the urges of bodies on earth," writes Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly.
  • "Through Jackson's art" and the magic of star Saoirse Rogan, Richard Corliss writes at Time, "the obscenity of child murder has been invested with immense gravity and grace."
  • "Some books are not meant to be adapted to the big screen," and The Lovely Bones is one of them, writes Claudia Puig at USA Today. What works in the book, she writes, comes off as "artificial and emotionless on-screen."
(Read more Saoirse Ronan stories.)

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