The Lovely Bones | Movie Review.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Author: Alice Sebold
Published: 2002
Movie adaptation: 2009
Director: Peter Jackson 

"My name was Salmon, like the fish. First name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

A young girl named Susie Salmon goes missing, her parents think she is just running late but later on, realise this isn't the case, the book itself is a strange one, one a lot of people wouldn't be comfortable reading it so I'm going to talk about the movie and some of the changes they made in it compared to the book. Susie was a bright young lady with her whole life ahead of her, she loved taking pictures and fell for a boy in her school called Ray, being the soft should she is she was too polite to ignore her neighbour Mr Harvey, a very strange man that usually kept himself to himself. One day after school whilst leaving an after-school club Susie starts walking through the cornfield, the same cornfield she has walked through every day since starting school to get to school, surely nothing bad could happen whilst making her way home? Wrong Mr Harvey has been watching Susie for a while now, unbeknown to a lot of people he was a predator, a paedophile who had killed many girls before. Mr Harvey had been planning how he would go about taking Susie for a while now and I'm sure if Susie had noticed his glare on her she would have brought it up with someone.

As she walked through the cornfield she is approached by Mr Harvey, a man she has hardly ever spoken too, a man who she felt compelled to be polite to. He tells Susie he has built something underground for the kids in the area to use and would she like to see, you can tell from her presence how uncomfortable she was made to feel and how she just wanted to go home. In this time her parents are eating dinner with the two other kids and discuss that because she is so late she will be getting extra greens. Unfortunately, Susie will never eat those greens, Mr Harvey manages to get Susie underground into this place he has built, he had filled it with toys, figures candles and bottles of coke, one for him and Susie to share. She suggests to him that she must be going and gets up to leave and the scene cuts implying something bad has just happened. The movie doesn't exactly go into detail over what happens and I personally believe this was to protect the audience from what the book describes, I don't want to go into much more detail about this because it can be very triggering for some people. When Mr Harvey has killed Susie we see her spirit run past Ruth, a young artist in the same school as Susie who ends up being a link to Susie's spirit, Saoirse Ronan is able to make you feel like you are with her whilst she is going through all of this, she is a wonderfully talented and beautiful actor which I can see going very far in life, she was the perfect pick for Susie.

Mr Harvey and Susie

After we find out that Susie has died and her parents and police are trying their best to find her but all they come across is a lot of blood and Susie's hat in the cornfield and is then assumed dead so the investigation moves on to finding her body and killer. Susie herself doesn't understand what is happening, she is stuck in the in-between and looking down on earth and helpless. She can't give her parents any comfort or help them find who has killed her, they're in a mess, her father can't cope and her mum eventually runs away and leaves her dad to cope with things alone. In the book, Susie's mum actually has an affair with the detective but in the movie, they don't have that kind of relationship. As the movie progresses we can see how Mr Harvey feeds off of killing Susie and how he gets a thrill, toying with the charm he took from her bracelet and sitting in front of the safe he has kept her body inside. You see the other girls he murdered he didn't keep their bodies, in fact, he dumped them and left them out in the open for people to find. It seems to me he has a sense of pleasure knowing that no one has found her body yet which makes me feel really sick.

Susie's dad starts suspecting Mr Harvey and follows him into the cornfield which is now full of corn when Susie was murdered it had all been ploughed which allowed him to dig down and make the room he killed her in. Whilst Susie's dad was following Mr Harvey there were two other people in this cornfield, Susie's best mate and her boyfriend who would sneak in it to have sex, they see Susie's dad and assume he is a pervert so the young boy beats him up and he ends up in a bad way. The detective keeps telling him he needs to leave things to the police and stop taking it into his own hands, but how can a father just sit back and stay calm? His daughter's body is still missing! Whilst all this is taking place Susie has made a new friend in the in between and later learns this girl is one of the girls Mr Harvey has murdered and she is trying to get Susie to move on from the in between and come with the others but Susie can't let go she needs to make stay because she has so many unanswered questions. As she is in the in-between she comes across Mr Harveys house, she goes in and sees him cleaning himself in the bath, she realises this is him after he has murdered her and sees he has her charm bracelet around the tap of the sink which he later gets rid of and ends up taking off the house charm so he can keep a token of hers, this scene was so unnerving for me, Stanley Tucci does such a good job of portraying Mr Harvey, it must have been hard to take n that role, especially as it's such a violent role.

Mr Harvey's victims

Susie's sister Lindsey starts suspecting Mr Harvey too and breaks into his house, Mr Harvey has started to notice her too and she has no idea until she finds a loose wooden floorboard and finds a book filled with his traps which he uses to trap the girls he kills, There was so much suspense in this scene I found myself telling Lindsey to just get out of there and was so scared he was going to get her. Mr Harvey had returned home whilst Lindsey was in the house and tries to catch her before she can make it out of the house with the book! Because of this he decides he needs to leave he knows the jig is up so he needs to make plans to cover his steps, he ends up dumping the safe in the sinkhole so her body can never be found and goes on the run, whilst he is on the run he actually ends up dying, an icicle falls on his head causing him to fall off of a cliff. I felt like his death wasn't enough, he deserved to face his crimes for killing all those girls. Once he dumped the safe, we see Susie's spirit going into Ruth's body and kissing Ray, it was so weird because Ruth's face turns into Susie's and we hear Ray's favourite thing to say so Susie " You're beautiful Susie Salmon". Ruth and Ray had become close friends throughout the movie and it was all down to Susie going missing, so Susie finally got to have her kiss with Ray by taking over Ruth.

Ruth and Susie

A lot more happened within the movie but they removed a lot from the book, as I said before I think they did this to protect the viewers and that's why it was adapted into a toned down version of the book. Some of the bits I wished they left in was when Susie's elbow is found in the cornfield and hers and Mr Harvey's fingerprints on the coke bottles, they also hold a funeral for her which I feel like they could have kept in the movie. The book tells how Mr Harvey dumps the safe straight away but I think it works better in the movie with him keeping it in his house because it sets the scene for how evil he truly is. The book takes place over a period of years and not months like the book, it delves into Ruth's life after and how she takes over Ruth's body to have sex with Ray, Susie's spirit well and truly attached itself to poor Ruth. I honestly think that both movie and book are very different from each other and you should give both a go, they are both very heavy but the book more so, I really enjoyed both and I'm not usually a big fan of adapted books, but if you're looking for closure this movie/book doesn't give you any, I was initially hoping that it would be turned into a sequel before I saw the actual film as I didn't know how they would pack it into a 2.15 hour movie, Overall I give this movie:

Elle May


  1. I absolutely loved the movie! It was a really good watch and kept me gripped the whole way through. I have yet to read the book though... I keep forgetting to pick up a copy... Going to add it to my basket on Amazon now, before I forget again!


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