The Lovely Bones (2009)


The Lovely Bones is a 2009 American drama film directed by Peter Jackson. It is a film adaptation of the award-winning and best-selling 2002 novel of the same name by Alice Sebold. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon, alongside Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as Susie's parents Jack and Abigail Salmon. The film's cast, particularly Stanley Tucci, received various awards and nominations, notably including a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA and Academy Award nominations.


In 1973, Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), a 14-year-old girl living in Norristown, Pennsylvania, dreams of becoming a famous photographer. On December 6, Ray Singh (Reece Ritchie), a boy Susie has had a crush on, approaches her at her locker and slips a note into her textbook. He asks her out for the following Saturday and attempts to kiss her, but they are interrupted by a teacher (Thomas McCarthy) scolding a fellow classmate, Ruth Conners (Carolyn Dando), for drawing a supposedly inappropriate picture. As Susie is walking home from school, she runs into her neighbor, George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), who coaxes her into seeing an underground den that he says he has built for the neighborhood children. While in the den, Susie becomes uncomfortable in Harvey's presence and tries to leave; when he grabs her, she elbows him in the face and runs out of the den back into the field, passing Ruth along the way. Meanwhile, the Salmon family begins to worry because Susie has not returned home. Her father, Jack (Wahlberg), leaves to go look for her. Susie makes it into town and sees her father, but he does not see her. Susie runs home. She enters the upstairs bathroom and finds Harvey soaking in a bathtub. After discovering her charm bracelet hanging on the sink faucet, near a bloody shaving razor, Susie realizes that she never escaped the den; she was murdered by Harvey. As she screams in horror, she is pulled away into a surreal world that is neither Heaven nor Earth, but "The In-Between". She continues to watch over her loved ones, unable to let go of her life and family despite her new afterlife friend, Holly Golightly (Nikki SooHoo), urging her to move on. Police are called in to investigate Susie's disappearance. Detective Len Fenerman (Michael Imperioli) finds Susie's hat with traces of her blood on it and surmises that Susie has been killed. In response, Jack develops all of Susie's pictures, and soon begins to obsessively research various neighbors, including Harvey, through their tax records. Fenerman interviews Harvey, but cannot find any evidence to pin him as a suspect. Susie's sister, Lindsey (Rose McIver), comes to agree with her father on his suspicions, but their casework stresses Susie's mother, Abigail (Rachel Weisz), to the point where her alcoholic mother, Lynn (Susan Sarandon), moves into their home to look after the family. Stricken with grief and alienated from her husband, Abigail eventually leaves the family for California. In her afterlife, Susie decides to inspect a lighthouse that has been beckoning her to enter. Once there, she learns that Harvey has murdered six other young girls, including Holly, and that he is keeping Susie's body in a safe in his basement. One night, Jack follows Harvey with a baseball bat into the cornfield seeking revenge upon him. However, Jack accidentally stumbles across Clarissa (Amanda Michalka), a friend of Susie's, with her boyfriend, Brian (Jake Abel), who beats Jack unconscious, almost killing him. Jack is sent to the hospital, prompting Lindsey to break into Harvey's house looking for evidence. She discovers a notebook underneath a bedroom floorboard containing a sketch of the clubhouse, a piece of Susie's hair and several news articles concerning Susie's disappearance and murder. However, Harvey returns home and hears Lindsey in the house, but she escapes and runs back home to discover that her mother has returned home. Fearful of being caught, Harvey begins packing immediately and flees Norristown, taking the safe containing the pieces of Susie's body along with him. Susie's realm of afterlife begins to expand into a larger heaven, and she is greeted by Harvey's other victims. She declines Holly's urging to enter heaven along with the others, saying she has one more thing to do. Meanwhile, Ruth and Ray are present when Harvey drives up to dispose of the safe in a sinkhole that Susie's family used to visit. Susie returns to Earth and enters Ruth's body, causing her to collapse. Ray rushes to Ruth's aid only to discover she has become Susie. They share a kiss, completing Susie's last wish, and she returns to Heaven. Some time later, during the winter, Harvey meets a young woman outside a diner and attempts to coax her into his car, but she rejects his offer for a ride and rebuffs him, leaving a shocked Harvey standing alone in the car park. Suddenly, a large icicle falls from a branch and hits Harvey on the shoulder (possibly hitting a nervous muscle), causing him to fall backward over a cliff and into a ravine, killing him. Susie sees that Lindsey and her boyfriend, Samuel Heckler (Andrew James Allen), are married and expecting a child, that her mother is now able to go into her room, and that her family is healing. Susie refers to these as "the lovely bones" that grew around her absence. The film begins to come to an end, Susie is shown finally entering her wide heaven. She addresses the audience in her final sentences: "My name is Salmon; like the fish, first name Susie. I was 14 years old when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. I was here for a moment and then I was gone. I wish you all a long and happy life."