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"THE LOVELY BONES"
(2009) (Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Heavy Extreme Heavy Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Extreme None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Extreme Extreme Extreme Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Having been murdered by her serial killer neighbor, a 14-year-old girl ends up stuck in an afterlife way station, helplessly watching her family unravel in the aftermath of their shocking loss.
PLOT:
It's 1977 and 14-year-old Susie Salmon (SAOIRSE RONAN) has been lured to her death at the hands of her serial killer neighbor, George Harvey (STANLEY TUCCI). Her parents, Jack (MARK WAHLBERG) and Abigail (RACHEL WEISZ), along with siblings Buckley (CHRISTIAN THOMAS ASHDALE) and Lindsey (ROSE McIVER), initially think she's just missing, but Detective Len Fenerman (MICHAEL IMPERIOLI) delivers the bad news they've been dreading.

While Susie's chain-smoking and somewhat eccentric grandmother, Lynn (SUSAN SARANDON), shows up to help out in her own unique fashion, and the girl's older classmate, Ray Singh (REECE RITCHIE), laments what might have been with Susie, clairvoyant Ruth Connors (CAROLYN DANDO) repeatedly senses the presence of the girl.

And that's because Susie is making her way through some sort of afterlife way station, halfway between Earth and Heaven, accompanied by another girl, Holly (NIKKI SOOHOO), who serves as her guide of sorts. Initially not believing in her demise, Susie then refuses to move on as she helplessly watches her family unravel, especially when her dad becomes determined to find her killer and bring him to justice.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
While the story revolves around a 14-year-old, it's hard to say if kids will be drawn to this story, unless serial killer or afterlife aspects are of interest to them, and/or they're fans of someone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content and images, and some language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • SAOIRSE RONAN plays a murdered 14-year-old girl who's now in something of an afterlife way station, halfway between Earth and Heaven where she must not only accept what's happened to her, but also helplessly watches her family unravel following her demise.
  • MARK WAHLBERG plays her grieving and distraught father who becomes obsessed with finding and punishing her killer to the point that he causes additional stress in the family.
  • RACHEL WEISZ plays his wife, equally upset about what's happened, but disturbed enough by that and Jack's new quest that she eventually abandons her family and simply leaves.
  • STANLEY TUCCI plays their neighbor, an average looking, middle-aged man who just so happens to be a serial killer who meticulously plots out the abduction and murder of his victims. After he kills Susie, he then sets his sights on her sister, all while trying to act low-key enough so as not to draw the suspicion of others and especially Det. Fenerman.
  • SUSAN SARANDON plays Abigail's mother who moves into the house to try to help. Highly opinionated and somewhat eccentric, she smokes a lot and drinks some (but it's implied she could be an alcoholic).
  • CAROLYN DANDO plays a clairvoyant who repeatedly senses Susie's spirit and is disturbed by that.
  • ROSE McIVER plays Susie's sister who's unnerved enough by George's behavior that she becomes determined to prove he had something to do with her sibling's murder.
  • REECE RITCHIE plays the high school senior who takes a liking to Susie after she's already done that with him, and laments what might have been.
  • MICHAEL IMPERIOLI plays the detective working the case of Susie's disappearance and murder.
  • NIKKI SOOHOO plays the spirit of another girl who befriends Susie in the afterlife, and turns out to be another of George's murder victims.
  • CHRISTIAN THOMAS ASHDALE plays Lindsey's younger brother who must also contend with his older sister's murder.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while only a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. A student-drawn sketch of a nude woman (breasts, hand/arm over the crotch) is briefly seen, and some kissing occurs.

    Violence includes brief glimpses of the early moments of a man murdering a girl, an accidental death, and a man beating up another person. The bloody aftermath of the violence is seen in several scenes. Those scenes, moments of potential peril, and the overall aspect of a teenage girl being murdered and then stuck in an afterlife limbo could be unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers.

    Bad attitudes are present, as is a great deal of tense family material. Potentially imitative behavior is also present. A character comes off as an alcoholic, but is only seen with alcohol a few times, while smoking occurs in various scenes.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from camera flashes, and later some brief lightning in a cornfield.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement (sometimes fairly bouncy) during the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Lynn asks Jack what he'll have (to drink). He says he's not drinking and she replies that's the problem.
  • Lynn has a drink.
  • Lynn retrieves some cooking sherry to drink (suggesting she could be an alcoholic).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • After her death, Susie goes into an echoey, surreal bathroom where George is in a bathtub with a washcloth across his face. There's mud and blood on the floor and sink where a straight razor is seen, while the water in the tub is dirty and/or bloody.
  • Len tells Susie's parents that they found significant amounts of Susie's blood at the crime scene (not seen).
  • We see George cleaning up the blood on his floor, etc.
  • Jack's face is bloody after a teenager beats him up.
  • Susie spots George's previous victims, including his landlady who's half-buried, a mostly buried 13-year-old girl, and then a dead girl floating underwater. She then spots a dead 6-year-old, other bodies, and then Holly whose face then sinks under some water.
  • We see a flashback to George yanking Susie off the ladder in his underground lair. We then see him dragging a bloody bag (with her body inside) to a safe in which he places that.
  • An icicle falls and hits a man, causing him to lose his balance. He then falls off a ledge a long way, hitting rocks and a tree before coming to a stop, bloody and presumably dead.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • George is a serial killer who lures in and then kills girls (initially playing nice and friendly to earn their trust) , including Susie. He then sets his sights on her sister.
  • Susie takes a covert photo of a neighbor girl exercising.
  • Lindsey refers to Buckley as "You moron."
  • A high school student is somewhat demeaning to his girlfriend.
  • Susie comments in voice over narration about George watching young lovers in the cornfield (nothing seen).
  • Abigail moves out of the house and takes a job working at an orchard (thus abandoning Jack and their two kids).
  • Lindsey kicks in George's basement half window, crawls inside, and then starts snooping around.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed here and under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • The fact that we know from the get-go that Susie has been murdered will probably create tension and suspense for some viewers waiting for that to happen.
  • Susie discovers Buckley (her younger brother) not breathing, so she hurries him into a car and then drives that to the hospital despite being too young to drive (and thus saves his life).
  • We see a suspicious looking man watching Lynn and Susie, but he turns out to be benign.
  • We see the killer (identity concealed from the camera) plotting his abduction and holding of Susie.
  • As Susie crosses a cornfield on her way home from school, she runs into George (who she somewhat knows from the neighborhood), who eventually convinces her to check out something neat he says he's created for the neighborhood kids. She's initially reluctant but he persuades her to climb down a hole and ladder into an underground "club house" he's dug. After briefly thinking it's cool, she then gets unnerved by his behavior and tries to escape up the ladder. He grabs her, but she kicks him in the face, and then runs away and down a street past Ruth who gets creeped out by that. And that's because Susie is dead and Ruth has apparently seen her spirit pass by.
  • After her death, Susie sees Jack searching for her, yells, but then disappears. She then runs to her house and can hear but not see her family. She's then in a fog leading to an echoey, surreal bathroom where George is in a bathtub with a washcloth across his face. There's mud and blood on the floor and sink where a straight razor is seen, while the water in the tub is dirty and/or bloody. She then dissolves away.
  • Doing routine detective work on Susie's case, Len and other cops arrive at George's place. The killer plays it cool until he sees the girl's trinket in a photo that's now in his place. As Len checks out the large model doll house he's building, George covertly pockets the trinket so the cops don't see it.
  • Susie states in voice-over narration that she can feel herself slipping away and her life leaving her.
  • Stuck somewhere in the afterlife, Susie spots Ray and tries running to him, but the ground starts being flooded ever deeper until she goes below the surface. We then see her body sinking through very deep water back to her house (that's completely submerged) and then down to her bed.
  • A fire breaks out on the stove top, with Lynn nonchalantly putting it out with water from a vase.
  • We hear and then see that George is now obsessed with Lindsey.
  • We then see that George is plotting his next abduction.
  • Jack retrieves a baseball bat from under his son's bed, goes outside, and starts following George from a distance as the latter walks through the neighborhood at night. He then follows him into a cornfield and grabs someone he thinks is George, but turns out to be a teenage girl there with her boyfriend. The latter then proceeds to beat up Jack, pummeling him with the bat and then his fists, leaving Jack badly wounded, bloody and then hospitalized.
  • Susie enters a house where bright lights fill the hallway that then turns into a road at night with passing cars. She then spots George's previous victims, including his landlady who's half-buried, a mostly buried 13-year-old girl, and then a dead girl floating underwater. She then spots a dead 6-year-old, other bodies, and then Holly whose face then sinks under some water.
  • We see George prepping a knife, hatchet and such for his next abduction and murder.
  • Lindsey kicks in George's basement half window, crawls inside, and then starts snooping around. She hears a thump, but then sees it's just the newspaper. Unbeknownst to her, George is headed and then arrives back home and then keeps thinking he hears something in the house. Under a floorboard, Susie discovers his journal, and then tries to put that board back as quietly as possible, but it makes noise. He then rushes toward the upstairs, as she tries to find a way out. She eventually goes out the window and falls off the second story roof to the ground on which she lands hard, but she gets up and runs off.
  • We watch as George and another man try to roll George's heavy safe into a sinkhole (we know Susie's body is inside). Ruth is there and senses something is wrong, and we worry that she might not act in time before the safe falls in and is lost forever.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • We see a bloody straight-razor in George's bathroom, and it's implied that's the murder weapon.
  • We see George prepping a knife, hatchet and such for his next abduction and murder.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You sick f*ck," "That sort of thing gives me the skeevies," "Suzie Q," "That's my career down the toilet," "You moron," "Shut up," "What a loser," "Jerk-off" (adjective), "You're as handsome as hell," "You are pathetic," "You son of a bitch" and "Piss off."
  • George is a serial killer who lures in and then kills girls (initially playing nice and friendly to earn their trust).
  • Susie takes a covert photo of a neighbor girl exercising.
  • Susie discovers Buckley (her younger brother) not breathing, so she hurries him into a car and then drives that to the hospital despite being too young to drive (and thus saves his life).
  • We see an old fridge slowly being rolled side over side into a sinkhole.
  • Lynn sweeps dirt under a rug rather than clean it up.
  • A fire breaks out on the stove top, with Lynn nonchalantly putting it out with water from a vase.
  • As part of a makeover, Lynn puts eggs on Lindsey's face.
  • When excess soap suds come out of the washer, Lynn and Buckley play in that.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 1 crap, 1 hell, 1 S.O.B. and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ" and "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Jack passionately kisses Abigail in bed, but nothing is seen and the scene ends.
  • Lynn tells Susie that her first kiss long ago was with a grown man.
  • A school figure complains that a girl's drawing (a sketch of a nude woman showing bare breasts and a hand/arm covering the crotch area) is getting the boys excited.
  • In a surreal scene, Susie sees George in a bath tub, apparently nude, but the water is so dirty that nothing explicit is seen.
  • Susie comments in voice over narration about George watching young lovers in the cornfield (nothing seen).
  • Lindsey and her boyfriend briefly kiss.
  • Ruth turns into Susie, with Ray seeing her that way. She tells him to kiss her, so he does (her first kiss).
  • SMOKING
  • Lynn smokes more than 10 times, Len appears to be briefly smoking once and there's brief miscellaneous smoking (once just a lit cigarette in an ashtray).
  • The back cover photo on a novel shows a man with a cigarette.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Susie discovers Buckley (her younger brother) not breathing, so she hurries him into a car and then drives that to the hospital despite being too young to drive (and thus saves his life).
  • We hear that a miscellaneous man's daughter later died from leukemia.
  • Jack and Abigail worry about Susie when she doesn't return home, with Jack hitting the streets with a picture of her, asking people if they've seen her.
  • Len tells Susie's parents that they found significant amounts of Susie's blood at the crime scene (not seen). They realize what that means and are filled with grief.
  • When asked, George states he was married with no kids, but we don't know if that's true or not.
  • Lindsey asks her dad if Susie is dead, already knowing she is.
  • Filled with grief and anger, Jack smashes his various ship in bottle models.
  • Jack sees a difference in the flicker of a candle flame and the reflection of the same in the window. Buckley then tells his father that he saw Susie and thinks she's listening to them (not in a scary way).
  • Jack becomes obsessed with finding his daughter's killer, resulting in Abigail being upset with him and such behavior.
  • Abigail and Lynn argue.
  • Abigail moves out of the house and takes a job working at an orchard (thus abandoning Jack and their two kids), and we hear that she tells others that she only has two kids.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Serial killers.
  • Kids being lured in by adults who act friendly toward them.
  • Dealing with such a loss (death by murder) in a family.
  • The comment that hobbies make one to learn how to finish in order to get things right.
  • Jack becomes obsessed with finding his daughter's killer, resulting in Abigail being upset with him and such behavior.
  • VIOLENCE
  • After briefly thinking George's underground "hangout" is cool, Susie then gets unnerved by his behavior and tries to escape up the ladder. He grabs her, but she kicks him in the face, and then runs away and down a street past Ruth who gets creeped out by that. And that's because Susie is dead and Ruth has apparently seen her spirit pass by.
  • Filled with grief and anger, Jack smashes his various ship in bottle models. As he does that, we see a surreal coastal section of the afterlife where giant versions of those bottle crash and break up on the shore.
  • When George goes into his house, Jack tries following him, pounding on the door hard enough to crack it.
  • Jack retrieves a baseball bat from under his son's bed, goes outside, and starts following George from a distance as the latter walks through the neighborhood at night. He then follows him into a cornfield and grabs someone he thinks is George, but turns out to be a teenage girl there with her boyfriend. The latter then proceeds to beat up Jack, pummeling him with the bat and then his fists, leaving Jack badly wounded, bloody and then hospitalized.
  • We see a flashback to George yanking Susie off the ladder in his underground lair. We then see him dragging a bloody bag (with her body inside) to a safe in which he places that.
  • Lindsey kicks in George's basement half window, crawls inside, and then starts snooping around. She hears a thump, but then sees it's just the paper. When she hears George rushing her way, she goes out the window and falls off the second story roof to the ground on which she lands hard, but she gets up and runs off.
  • An icicle falls and hits a man, causing him to lose his balance. He then falls off a ledge a long way, hitting rocks and a tree before coming to a stop, bloody and presumably dead.



  • Reviewed December 1, 2010 / Posted January 15, 2010

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