The Lovely Bones

‘What am I now?’ asks the extraordinary Saoirse Ronan, her eyes welling

3/5
Dir Peter Jackson US (PG13)

‘What am I now?’ asks the extraordinary Saoirse Ronan, her eyes welling. ‘The dead girl? The lost girl? The missing girl? I’m nothing.’ Whatever the flaws of this less-than-wondrous version of The Lovely Bones (and there are several), they’re not of this poised actor, as intuitive a teen talent as Haley Joel Osment. The story, brought to screen in a showy CGI manner, takes place in a strange first-person purgatory out of which teenage Suzie Salmon, murdered by a serial killer, narrates her story.

While hobbits and giant apes are temporarily exorcised from director Peter Jackson’s system, he hasn’t quite recaptured the psychological intimacy of 1994’s Heavenly Creatures. This new movie’s ’70s-era clothes and cars are detractingly vivid; scenes often feel like the hyperreal dream sequences of Brian De Palma’s Carrie. It’s a movie that, unfortunately, tips toward overkill – even Ronan’s voice is amplified into a weird whisper. More quiet would have helped.
Joshua Rothkopf

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