The Lovely Bones +The Captive / Reviews and curiosities

The Lovely Bones

Score: 10/10 

Yesterday I just finished The Lovely Bones (2009) and again the movie mesmerized me! I saw many critics about it while I searched information for this post, but for me this movie deserves a 10. I hope to help you find out if you are going to like it too and for those who already know it stay with me a little longer because there will be some curiosities about it. I will also talk a little about The Captive (2014), that I recently watched and has as similar thematic. In advance, both movies are available at Netflix (at least in Brazil).

Lets start with a brief synopsis. At The Lovely Bones we follow the character Susie Salmon, a 14 old girl that was murdered. Stuck in a dimension between heaven and earth she observes how her family deals with her disappearing.  Her father initiates a search for answers and guilty while her mother tries to escape the reality. Even after death, the strong link between Susie and her father allows them a sort of interaction at some moments, interaction that also occurs with a sensitive girl from town. Since the beginning, we know the face of Susie killer and wish that something point the police in the right direction. It is in this fantasy atmosphere that the plot develops.  It’s important to say the movie it’s not religious. Even the author of the story says it’s about faith, hope and it doesn’t mean to define what happens after death.

You can see the movies has a strong thematic, right? But it’s not focused at violence, we have instead a really heartwarming movie, that mixtures reality with supernatural, giving lightness to it. The big highlight for me is the character Susie and the acting of Saoirse Ronan. Saoirse did an amazing job captivating and moving us. She won the role after sending just one tape to the production! The Young Irish actress already won many prizes, the most recent, due to her role at Lady Bird. Other movies I like where she was the protagonist were Hanna and The Host.

The acting of Susie parents is other key element of the movie, Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg deliver a great acting and work well together. The curious this time is that they were not the first choice of the producers.  For Susie’s mother, Abigail, Helen Hunt was considered.

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For Jack Salmon we would have Hugh Jackman, but his schedule didn’t collaborate and he give up, giving the torch to  Ryan Gosling. Ryan in his turn decided to increase his weigh about 10 kg in order to better represent the character, but the director Peter Jackson didn’t approve and our chubby star was dismissed  🤣 Finally, one day after the beginning of the shootings comes in scene Mark Wahlberg.

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Another highlight is the responsible for Susie vanishing, her neighbor George Harvey. May not be noticeable but the lonely Harvey was interpreted by Stanley Tucci. The actor has been through a huge transformation to create the character:  he lighten his skin; dyed his arms and chest hair; wore a wig, a fake teeth, beard and sideburns applications, contact lenses and clothes that made him look fat! All that was asked by the actor so his image didn’t end up associated with a serial killer. Tucci credits the depth of his acting to John Douglas, founder and former chief of the FBI’s Investigative Support Unit and one of the pioneers in modern criminal profiling.

Douglas was the model for the agent Jack Crawford of “The Silence of the Lambs,” cool isn’t it? For “The Lovely Bones,” Douglas devoted two days to prepping Tucci, “The goal is to be bad, but human,” said Tucci.

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At least, another strong name in the movie is Susan Sarandon, that made grandma Lynn role. Even lacking of many domestic abilities and having her own addiction, Lynn will take the control of the house and become an important pillar to the family in that moment.

The movie conclusion is good, despite I want the final events were a little different. But I guess, the author intention was exactly fool us and in the end we see that what occurred may have been the best for the family. For those who already seen the movie I will be more explicit (select the text bellow to reveal the text that contains SPOILER)

What made me a little disappointed was the discard of the safe in the sink. It appears to last forever and I was certain that Susie bodies would be discovered. After I reconsidered, since Susie came back to live a happy moment with Ray and not to hold on to the tragedy. At the same time find the daughter body maybe was a pain the parents didn’t need to go through, and just when they finally were moving on.

In the credits, I discovered that the book of Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones, inspired the movie. The movies despite preserving the essence of the story made some modifications. At screen we don’t see the relation between Abigail and the detective investigating the disappearance of her daughter. Susie’s death also wasn’t shown in the details presented in the book. The book was the most sold in USA in the year of its launch, 2002, overcoming names like Tom Clancy, Nicholas Sparks and Stephen King. Of course, the book is already at my wish list!


The Captive

Score: 5/10 

Before this post gets to long let’s talk about Captive.

Synopsis: After a stop on the road to do some shopping, Cass is abducted from her father’s car. Her family spent six years without any news, until a lead come up in a pornography site at the same time the girls get in touch with her father.

Captive unfortunately, didn’t find the balance between the elements of the movie. The plot is interesting at some points but it has many flops and the tension and action simply were not there. For me, the biggest problem was the lack of complexity of the main character. Contrary to Susie, Cass couldn’t show much emotion. The character seem quite all right with her captivity, were she was well treated and help her hijackers to kidnap more children by talking to them online. But if it was the intention, show that the years made her more an ally than prisoner, the  plot and/or acting didn’t made it clear. The moments of frustration of the girls let us down too. Since the movie doesn’t has any fantasy or supernatural element, I hoped it would deliver some extra scenes of action and tension, but it all goes on like a water bath (i.e. slowly) and we get to the end with no climax.

Talking about the girls parents, it was made a good job. I liked the acting of Ryan Reynolds and mostly of Mireille Enos. Another strong name was Rosario Dawson, that made a good job alongside the cop interpreted by Scott Speedman, that I thought it was a little too much. At least the villain Mika, Made by Kevin Durand didn’t convince much, it was too caricature. Besides there was almost no explanation about the gang Mika was part of and how they really acted.

In an interview for BlogTo, Atom Egoyan, director and co-writer of the movie is questioned about the recurrence of the subject of children being killed or harmed in his movies. The director promises this will be his last movie with these subjects and says that certain facts of his past made him obsessive with this, but he fells is really time to move on. Lets hope he can get it right with other topics.

So, it’s not a terrible movie, but since there are many options available I wouldn’t recommend it unless you like too much of one of its actors or the director and want to see all of his work.

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Have you seen those movies? Do you have a different opinion or agree with me? Do you remember another similar movie? Let me know in the comments!


Some of the information were obtained at:

5 questions for Atom Egoyan about the captive

♦ Ryan Gosling admits he was fired from The Lovely Bones for being too fat

♦ ‘Lovely Bones:’ Serial Killers Elude As Ordinary Neighbors

♦ Corujão: veja algumas curiosidades do filme ‘Um Olhar do Paraíso’

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