Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Lovely Bones

We first had dinner in Bella Italia opposite the Reading Vue. What a pleasant experience with very prompt service. I asked our waiter, a young handsome fellow if he was Italian. No, he replied, I'm Brazilian but (and here he spoke with great pride) I speak five languages.

He them itemised them: Portuguese (of course), Spanish which is easy then Italian and French which being Romance languages are also easy and finally English. He leant over to confide: "I can tell you how I learned these languages so quickly - I had a girlfriend for every language!" And he swept away triumphantly.

"The Lovely Bones" tells the story of Susie Salmon who at 14 is lured away from her close family by a neighbour and brutally abused and killed. The focus of the film is on the aftermath, the effect on her family and the eventual retribution for the paedophilic killer. The twist is that the dead Susie is present in "the in-between" between earth and heaven (it's American) and she continues to narrate events on earth and vaguely haunt as an insubstatial ghost.

Inside this film there is a good one trying to get out. Susie's post-death CGI environment is cleverly done but in its infatuation with its own cute imagery it jars with the psychological thrust of the film proper, derailing the flow. The film is drizzled with ladled-on-with-a-trowel sentimentality which seems de rigeur for American films (thanks Peter Jackson).

However, the acting was good, particularly Saoirse Ronan playing Susie, the central character. Rachel Weisz playing the mother gives her normal performance of introverted neuroticism and should get out more.