Box art for The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

drama, thrillers

When 14-year-old Susie Salmon was murdered, she left her unfinished life behind. But now from her place in a strange but beautiful in-between world, she must help her father catch her killer and protect her family before she can finally move on.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Haunting mystery-drama examines a child's murder.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that director Peter Jackson's drama based on Alice Sebold's best-selling book The Lovely Bones centers on the aftermath of an enormous tragedy: the death of a child (though the actual death itself isn't shown on screen). The intense subject matter -- murder and molestation -- may overwhelm younger teens. Although the movie's messages about love and loss are ultimately positive, the film is often deeply sorrowful and, at times, quite violent (images include dead bodies, bloody clothes, and more). Language includes mostly name-calling; there's also some kissing, and one older character smokes and drinks in front of children.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. Do the violence and intense subject matter make it harder to see the positive take-aways, or do they come through?
  • How does the impact of the violence in a movie like this compare to that of an action/sci-fi movie? Which affects you more? Why?
  • Talk about the events that lead up to Susie's murder. What lessons can be gleaned from the tragedy? Why is Susie stuck in the in-between?
  • How did Susie's death affect everyone, including herself? Dothese reactions seem believable? How doeseveryone find peace?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 28
    see all The Lovely Bones reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Peter Jackson's adaptation of Alice Sebold's best-selling novel hovers just this side of Ghost Whisperer kitsch but remains compulsively watchable.

- Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rotten: Tone is the first thing sacrificed in this shapeless, overlong, mawkishly muddled pop-up illustration of a movie.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, January 15, 2010


- Ben Kenigsberg, Time Out, Friday, November 18, 2011

Audience Reviews

3 stars

I don't understand why this film has gotten so much bad press. The film is actually quite good. Granted the film is directed by Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson, and those films are never gonna be topped, so it shouldn't be a mystery that The Lovely Bones didn't exactly match Jackson's masterwork. The result of the film is quite surprising, but nothing extraordinary. At least it's surprising in the sense that the film doesn't deserve all the flack it received. The story is very good, except for a few far fetched moments, I'm referring to the scenes of Suzie Salmon being in the in between of Earth and Heaven, some of these scenes resembled the fantasy world of Chronicles Of Narnia, and I found them to be corny. But the thing that I was most impressed about was the cast, they all did an incredible job and obviously the best performance here is Stanley Tucci as killer George Harvey. Tucci delivers another great performance, Tucci can be a phenomenal villain in films, just watch his role as Adolph Eichmann in the tv movie Conspiracy, and you'll see what I'm talking about. The Lovely Bones is very underrated and I think that most people have given this film an unfair rating. The film is nothing great, but it definitely is a good film. Better than what most professional critics have said about this film. You should know that Peter Jackson will never top Lord Of The Rings. The Lovey Bones still a pretty good book to screen adaptation for Peter Jackson. Jackson shows a unique talent to staying very close to the source material, in this case it's yet another book. I have to say it's a very good adaptation and it's very good film too. With Lovely Bones you have to keep an open mind, if don't then you won't enjoy it. It may not be as epic or memorable as Lord Of The Rings, but Peter Jackson manages to create yet another good film.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2 stars

I didn't like this movie much. Perhaps I need to read the book. Susie helps solve her murder from the in-between world - sort of like Ghost Whisperer. But how she does it seems inconsistent. Sometimes she makes contact with her family or boyfriend, but not enough to really help much. Where is Melinda Gordon when you need her?

- Redlats, Sunday, October 17, 2010

2 stars

After all the hype of the book, which I haven't read, I have to say this was a let down. There are some good performances from the young murdered girl and the creepy neighbour. The visuals for the inbetween world are ok. However the story and plot kind dragged for a long time, and reached an uneventful conclusion. I expected so much more, but it was just rather average to be honest.

- Deano78, Sunday, October 10, 2010