I was mildly surprised when I heard Peter Jackson was going to be directing The Lovely Bones, but now that I've seen it, I have to go on record as saying that he is one of this generation's most gifted directors. Now, that was probably already evident because of what he did the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but those were one type of picture; this is another type of film entirely.
Based on the novel by Alice Sebold (which I didn't read so I have no idea how loyal the film is), The Lovely Bones is a heartbreaking, realistic and frightening film that works on many different levels. As a parent, this is the most horrific type of film you can watch (even though Jackson left all of the gruesome happenings off-camera). Even still, it's like a punch to the gut.
For those who don't know the premise, it's the story of a teenage girl who gets abducted and killed by one of her neighbors. Her spirit resides in the In Between where she watches as her family tries to cope with her death and her father tries to find her killer. She's torn between her want for vengeance and wishing her family could heal.
The Lovely Bones is masterfully paced, brilliantly acted, especially by Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan (who I think should have gotten an Oscar nom), and one of the best major movies of 2009 in my opinion. For the life of me, I can't see how Peter Jackson wasn't nominated for a Best Director Oscar for this remarkable film.
I give The Lovely Bones ***** out of *****. Why 5 stars? Because I'm a cold hearted bastard who rarely gets emotionally moved by movies, yet this one did just that.