The spirit of a young girl is trapped in her own personal purgatory until she is able to assist her father and sister in tracking down the man responsible for murdering her and several other teens. Oscar®-winner Peter Jackson adapts his extraordinary visual style seen earlier in THE LORD OF THE RINGS and KING KONG to bring Susie's ethereal world to life as she crosses between two planes of reality while attempting to expose her killer. Jackson's imaginative fantasy worlds succeed from a visual standpoint, however his kinetic filming is smothered with constantly-sweeping camera movements that are overly dramatic and completely unnecessary. Alice Sebold's heart-felt characters are realized by the considerable cast, with Saoirse Ronan standing out above all others as the fading Susie. While Stanley Tucci manages to create the creepy and uncomfortable persona that the role of Mr. Harvey required, many of the awkward mannerisms he brings with him make it difficult to accept his character completely. Unfortunately, the motion-picture adaptation lacks the same level of suspense and heightened emotional response present in the novel. Had it been structured differently with a quickened pace and darker tone, it may have proven to be far more effective. Even still, THE LOVELY BONES offers a harrowing story built on strong characters and performances that should appeal to fans of the written work and newcomers as well.
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