The Lovely Bones? The Lovely Pile of Douche more like.
I have been saving up my dvd of Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones for well over a year now, because I really wanted to watch it and appreciate it without all the hype and commotion which surrounded its cinematic opening. Well. I just got through watching it. And it was bollox.
I am vexed.
Here are the reasons why it is less a pile of lovely, and more a pile of steaming.
1. What the hell was the point in Psychic Girl and ‘The Moor’? They were in four short scenes and played absolutely no part in the plot except at the end when Psychic Girl suddenly, inexplicably and fucking stupidly morphed into dead girl for a quick snog whilst her corpse was being rolled into a pit in the background. Forget catching the killer in the act, she was more interested in a good snog. The killer escapes to kill again, while the other victims’ families continue in their mental torture of not knowing the truth behind their daughters’ deaths. But dead girl got some. So it’s all alright.
2. Heaven appears to be a tree and limbo is a technicoloured cornfield copied straight out of the Robin Williams film What Dreams May Come (which, incidentally, did it better, but is also a far superior film to this messy heap of confused imagery and vacuous symbolism). Why the hell does she spend most of her time in a gazebo which we never see her in in life? She’s supposed to meet a boy there but never makes it, then it becomes her centrepiece in limbo because she’s never been kissed. So basically limbo is all about her wanting a snog. Thus, the gazebo.
3. Limbo is populated by a suspiciously enlightened group of horribly murdered girls whose only desire is to send Carol Anne into the light. I mean, send Susie Salmon to the tree. Forget about any kind of justice or sympathy for the living left behind, they appear to be interested only in picnics and butterflies. Alright, I totally get the idea that in limbo you have to let go of life and find peace, but these girls are just frikin pathetic! And the final scene with them all appearing in the field and flitting off to heaven (the tree) is just darn creepy, so intent are they on getting Susie to follow them, it feels like they’re working for the killer. That Holly girl has a glint in her eye that’s more agent of hell than agent of heaven. Acceptance of death is one thing, but embracing injustice is just plain strange.
4. Why is Susie’s mum such a twat? I understand it might be hard on the family if the father becomes obsessed to the point of deranged with finding his daughter’s killer, let alone her body, if she really is even dead. Yes, if over the course of years this happened a mother would be forgiven for leaving her husband and taking her family with her. Susie Salmon’s mother Abigail, on the other hand, gets pissed off with her husband and ditches her entire family after what appeares on film to be only a few months. What a bitch. In the book she even has an affair! She is replaced by her alcoholic mother played by Susan Sarandon who is absolutely not hilarious.
The film is supposed to be about the family, and about how they are to go on without Susie. Why then, is Sarandon only in three scenes, does the young son only have three lines, does the younger sister only become significant when embroiled in the murder mystery plot right at the end, does the mother leave entirely and is not seen again until the finale, and why oh why when you’ve found the condemning evidence of who the murderer of your sister really is, why oh why would you ever consider not giving it to the police? Which brings me to point 5.
5. Why does the message of this film appear to be ‘anything for an easy life’ ? The entire film was trying to come across as a murder mystery/family drama where the family is torn apart by their search for the truth until ultimately they come to realise that the truth is not worth it. This is all very well and good. But their giving up of the truth results in the escape of a serial murderer who can then carry on to kill more girls.
Their giving up of the truth is in fact a horrifically selfish act of self-preservation at the expense of every one else: the previous victims’ families, and the future victims and their families. The Salmon family is in fact uniquely and unnaturally selfish. Human beings do not give up on justice for their lost children. They just don’t. They don’t allow their childrens’ murderers to go free, and yes, families do fall apart.
And no, murderers do not generally get miraculously killed by falling icicles.
Which brings me to point 6.
6. THE MURDERER WAS KILLED BY AN ICICLE!!!
They made the decision that family was more important than justice, so the killer is free to kill and that’s their fault. But then they realise how douchey that is, so they kill off the killer with an icicle. Just to make sure they don’t get blamed for him killing anyone else. Job done.
My point is this: is your family more important than everyone else’s? Are we not compassionate and community centred creatures? Or are we cold-blooded, isolated and selfish beings?
Are we apes, or are we snakes?