8:00 PM, 26th March, 2010
How often do we find a movie that ventures into unconventional themes like life after death, and that suggests a solution not only intelligent but also spiritual and beautiful? In my opinion, not very often, but The Lovely Bones does exactly that.
Director Peter Jackson has managed to direct a challenging film adapted from the 2002 novel by Alice Sebold. The movie does not try to literally re-tell the book, but it adapts it and makes it into a successful movie. Most of the performances in the film flow naturally and are credible as the characters from the book. Most notable is Ronan’s performance as Susie Salmon, a girl who is abducted and murdered by a creepy psychopath played almost unrecognisably by Stanley Tucci. Susie, after dying, explores a different dimension of the afterlife, but is unable to detach from our world because her lingering emotions won’t allow her to be set free.
The Lovely Bones is not only about how families cope with death, and revenge after murder, but looks at the more profound concepts like the energy of souls in living things and where that energy goes when we die. Of all the interesting ideas Jackson puts on screen, I think the most interesting aspect of this movie is his emphasis of an ethereal connection that we share with the universe and that, somehow, wisdom always evens things out in its own way.
10:30 PM, 26th March, 2010
This coming of age story of 16 year-old Jenny in London in 1961 easily makes my top ten list of films for last year.
This is not surprising because of the quality of the people involved. Director Lone Scherfig and executive producer and writer Nick Hornby also brought us About A Boy. The characters are well drawn and you can’t help but get involved. The superb cast is led by Carey Mulligan as Jenny in her first starring role, supported by the more experienced Alfred Molina and Emma Thompson amongst others.
For a person of British heritage and with memories of London from long ago (many other ANUFG members will likely be in that category too) I found the film wonderfully nostalgic. This is London before the swinging sixties, and we explore the role of education and women in society. The recreation of the era – the fashion, the attitudes and the culture, the cars, the weather, the restaurants and music – was wonderfully done. A nostalgic bonus for me but the film will likely transport most filmgoers to a world unlike anything today.
Reading other reviews I have noticed that some have found the film anti Semitic. I personally didn’t, but will pay particular attention to this when it screens. And ask yourself: “What would you have done as the father?”