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The Lovely Bones movie reviews

The first reviews are in for the movie adaptation of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, which was a best-selling novel and a favorite of book clubs. The story describes the aftermath of a child's grisly murder, told from a heavenly point of view. The gruesome topic will likely keep The Lovely Bones from displacing a feel-good adaptation, The Blind Side, from the #1 box office spot. But Sebold's intriguing theme seems made for film. A look at some of the reviews:

-- New York Times: Director Peter Jackson's "film ... shows less audacity [than the novel] and too much art. Susie's unearthly home, in the book a minimally sketched, nondenominational purgatory where the dead loiter on their way to heaven and keep tabs on unfinished business down on earth, has been expanded into a digitally rendered Wonderland of rioting metaphors, crystal seas and floating topiary. ... The filmmakers' evident affection for the book expresses itself as a desperate scramble to include as much of it as possible, which leaves the movie feeling both overcrowded and thin."

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-- L.A. Times: "An enormously gifted performer, [Saoirse] Ronan is the only element of the film that is exactly as it should be, bringing naturalness, honesty and radiance to the part of a young woman just on the cusp of life. Other elements, including "The Lovely Bones' " imaginative notion of what Susie's afterlife looks like, are strong, but everything that's good is undermined by an overemphasis ... its weirdest, creepiest, most shocking elements, starting with the decision to give a much more prominent role to murderer George Harvey."

-- The New Yorker: "The book was brought off with considerable delicacy—it's really an affectionately detailed portrait of a suburban girl's life. Literalized in the movie, the material is closer to a high-toned ghost story. Jackson intermingles family goings on with Susie's gossamer interventions, and some of the brushed-with-ether imagery verges on the uncanny. Yet Jackson has become an undisciplined fabulist: the movie is redundant and undramatic."Associated Press -- "The images often are striking - ships inside giant bottles shattering on the rocks of a forlorn shore, candy-colored landscapes where Susie romps as she begins to sense the freedom of passing into the cosmos. But the spectacle Jackson creates is showmanship, not storytelling, distracting from the mortal drama of regret and heartache he's trying to tell."

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