The Lovely Bones

In the thrilling drama, The Lovely Bones, a 14 year-old girl named Susie Salmon, is raped and murdered by her obsessive neighbor, Mr. Harvey. Susie is stuck in the “in-between” with a yearning to help her family find her killer. Unfortunately, her father’s undying love creates conflict not only with Susie’s mother, but with Susie herself. These struggles between helping her family heal versus giving her father closure takes her on an enlightening and emotional journey. Eventually, the Salmons find the truth. The truth sets Susie free and brings peace of mind to her family.

The parents’ reactions to Susie’s death are identical to those of parents’ in real life. I feel as though Jack suffers from denial because he cannot let go of Susie without knowing the truth. If he doesn’t know the truth, she is not gone. The film portrays Jack and Susie as having an inseparable bond. Little does Harvey know, Jack’s love for Susie, it was like no other. Jack was determined to figure out why Susie never returned home. He then suspected she was murdered. He began to obsess over the need to find his daughter’s killer, who he now believed to be the neighbor. When Susie’s parents realize she is not coming home, they lie in bed, devastated, comforting one another while they weep. Jack is now determined to figure out what happened to his daughter. Abigail tries to deal with the loss, but finds herself stuck because Jack will not let go. As you can see, Susie’s death takes an enormous toll on her parents, forcing her mother to flee to California because she cannot handle the stress. Fenerman, the detective lashes out at Jack as well. After Jack realizes what Harvey has done, he takes the liberty of punching a hole in his neighbor’s door. Jack’s attitude towards his daughter’s murderer is very realistic.

Lindsay and Buckley do not express much emotion in this film. They are the younger siblings and realistically, kids at this age cannot grasp the aspect of death. Lindsay does begin to understand the severity of this event when she sees how emotionally distraught her father is. Suspicions arise and she puts herself in a dangerous position when she searches through Harvey’s belongings. This behavior may suggest she is definitely not mature enough to understand death.

Harvey’s reaction to the horrible things he has done to innocent women is similar to what most killers and rapists feel towards their victims. Murderers don’t deny the death of their victims; they embrace it with no feelings of remorse. For example, Harvey takes Susie’s charm bracelet as a souvenir. When the detective interrogates Harvey, Harvey is very relaxed and shows no signs of grief.

I believe death is portrayed accurately in this film. Susie’s family expresses all of the emotions related with grief, which include: sadness, frustration, anger, emptiness, etc. Also, Susie’s siblings represent the younger children who cannot understand death. Lastly, Harvey portrays the typical killer’s reaction to death.

Do you believe death is portrayed as clear or unclear? Do you believe each person plays their role accurately with regards to what reality depicts?

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2 thoughts on “The Lovely Bones

  1. The Lovely Bones was an excellent movie. It was very emotional for me to watch, I originally read the book and it was great. I decided to go to the theaters to see how it translated into a movie and was happy to see that the majority of the movie was true to the book. I enjoyed your analysis and I agree with many of your points. I think that this movie is a great representation of what happens in American society when we deal with death. Her father was extremely angry and her mother was so upset she had to get out of town for a while. It gives us a great portrayal of how people deal with death differently. In this movie it is very tragic and gruesome how Susie dies making this story even more sad and even harder on her friends and family. This movie shows that even though a person is not physically here anymore, doesn’t mean that their spirit is gone.

  2. I both read the book and the movie and it really was one of the most emotional stories that I have read. The book goes into more detail on her death and how Harvey, the murder, acts afterwards. At the time that Susie was kidnapped and murdered, she believed she had escaped. In the movie you can see her running down the street desperately looking for help, but in reality she was killed and her soul stuck in the in-between. Thus, she and the rest of her family have to cope with her death. Your analysis of the movie was accurate and I also believe that the father reacts in a way that any normal parent would react. The desperate need to have closure for his daughter’s death drives him to the moon and back. Susie’s younger siblings have to cope with the reactions of their parents and also form their own obersvations of their sisters death and it is very approprate for children of that age. Ths movie was an emotional roller coaster and clearlu showed the fallout of not only the family, but the community at large.

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