THE LOVELY BONES
False Visions of Heaven
Release Date: December 11, 2009
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 135 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures/Viacom
Director: Peter Jackson
Executive Producer: Ken Kamins and James Wilson
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman/CEO, Viacom
Brad Grey, Chairman/CEO
John Lesher, President
Paramount Film Group
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000
Susie and her family live down the street from Mr. Harvey who lures Susie into a makeshift “clubhouse” and murders her. Susie finds herself in “middle heaven” and is befriended by another young girl, who was murdered by the same man.
Susie is able to see what happens on earth as her father becomes obsessed in finding her killer and her mother leaves her father because of her own grief and his inability to let go and move on with their lives.
Over time, her father and younger brother have visions of Susie that they find comforting. The tension becomes whether Susie – in heaven – will enter a heavenly vision of the house of her killer. By entering, Susie gives up her own desire to have her killer brought to justice and will be able to move on to “another heaven,” a “deeper heaven.” Currently, she is in her “own heaven” inhabited by the other victim of the serial killer.
At the same time, the tension on earth is if the killer will be found out. Susie’s younger sister senses that Mr. Harvey is the killer and breaks into his house and finds the missing evidence, just as Susie in heaven enters the house that will lead her to the next heaven.
Mr. Harvey escapes the police but later a “coincidence” causes him to fall to his death. Susie is free to enter the “real heaven” and discovers other girls who were also victims. Before she does, she appears to Ray, a young boy with whom she was about to have a date before her murder and kisses him as he is kissing another girl. He sees a vision that it is Susie. This gives Susie the closure she needs.
THE LOVELY BONES is a heartfelt drama filled with breathtaking visions of heaven that are both brilliantly and beautifully depicted. Susie travels through what seem to be dimensions, able to see earth while also seeing her surroundings in heaven.
Saoirse Ronan as Susie is captivating, and Stanley Tucci as Mr. Harvey is creepy in his “normality.” The story takes a few side trips, such as a sequence with the grandmother that portrays her as an alcoholic, chain smoking, mostly incompetent caregiver. This sequence didn’t seem to do much but add to the already bloated running time.
The movie’s subject is a murder of a young teenage girl and is therefore very dark and heavy. Director Peter Jackson creates horror and suspense reminiscent of Hitchcock, but viewers never see the actual murder of Susie, only the effects of her murder. There is very brief foul language but there is graphic violence of the dad being beaten up and the killer falling to his death. There is also strong occult content where a classmate who is able to see the dead Susie and have a “sense” of what happened.
While the visions of heaven are wonderful, there is no mention of God in heaven. It is more of an Eastern worldview of heaven where there is beauty but not God. There is no question of forgiveness or reconciliation with God. Thus, ultimately, these visions of heaven are false.
While the Bible only gives us limited information about heaven, the one thing we do know is that being in heaven will be being with Jesus. It is His presence that will truly make it heaven. The Bible also tells us that we are not able to enter this heaven because of the immoral things we’ve done. Instead, Jesus died for us, paying for our entrance by suffering for our sins. THE LOVELY BONES has lovely images of the afterlife but misses the only Person in heaven who truly matters.
Thus, THE LOVELY BONES contains false, abhorrent images of a heaven without God, laced with some strong occult content.
THE LOVELY BONES is a heartfelt drama filled with breathtaking visions of heaven that are beautifully depicted. Saoirse Ronan as Susie is captivating, and Stanley Tucci as the killer is creepy. Director Peter Jackson creates horror and suspense reminiscent of Hitchcock, but only shows the effects of Susie’s murder. There is brief, mild foul language, but there is graphic violence of the dad being beaten up and the killer falling to his death. While beautiful, the visions of heaven are false and abhorrent, with no mention of God or Jesus.