Far from heaven

Posted by · 5:15 am · April 20th, 2009

Ever since it was announced that Peter Jackson had succeeded Lynne Ramsay at the helm of “The Lovely Bones,” I have been hopeful that the project would see him veer closer to the eerie understatement of “Heavenly Creatures” than the extravagant kitsch of “The Lord of the Rings.”

The premise of Alice Sebold’s novel may indicate delicate drama, but its fantastical elements need a light touch to avoid tipping over into gauzy sentimentality. (We will, of course, be discussing the novel in our Page to Screen series, which starts next month.)

So I’m pleased to read, in USA Today’s chat with the filmmaker, that restraint appears to be high on his agenda. Though he rightly picks up on the redemptive aspects of Sebold’s narrative (“Susie holds on to love, and by doing so, she transcends the horror of her murder”), he’s wisely taking an open-ended cinematic approach to the issue of the afterlife:

“It’s God-less in the sense that when Susie dies, she finds herself caught in a place between Earth and heaven — she is in an ‘In-Between,’ as Alice Sebold calls it.” When she moves on, “we’re happy for audiences to imagine this new world in whatever way makes them comfortable.”

Empire, meanwhile, offers a still that provides an intriguing glimpse of this ‘In-Between’ world. I’m feeling more and more optimistic about this.

Saoirse Ronan in The Lovely Bones

→ 11 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

11 responses so far

  • 1 4-20-2009 at 10:16 am

    Vito said...

    It’s a beautiful book, and I think Peter Jackson will do it justice….

    It’s just Wahlberg I’m not sure about. We’ll see.

  • 2 4-20-2009 at 10:24 am

    Bellock said...

    Because of the rage of all bloggers, the erased the logo from the pic.

  • 3 4-20-2009 at 10:51 am

    Bernardo said...

    Yeah, I also hate Wahlber, but I don’t think that he can hurt the movie.
    My doubt is if Peter J. can handle such a strong drama, like this. Will see…

  • 4 4-20-2009 at 11:04 am

    John H. Foote said...

    I have faith — always have — great book, and Jackson can handle fantasy and drama — this will be among the years best and an Oscar nominee for best picture and director.

  • 5 4-20-2009 at 12:29 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    What’s with the Wahlberg hate? Surely after “The Departed” and “I Heart Huckabee’s,” among others, the guy doesn’t have to prove what a sharp actor he is? It’s counter-intuitive casting, to be sure, but I’m intrigued.

  • 6 4-20-2009 at 12:48 pm

    Ryan said...

    Guy Lodge, yes, but then he did The Happening.

    It’s like his Bride Wars or Norbit.

  • 7 4-20-2009 at 2:12 pm

    Vito said...

    I don’t hate Wahlberg at all. I’m not saying he will be bad, but I think it could go either way. He is a good actor in the right role.

  • 8 4-20-2009 at 4:50 pm

    MattyD. said...

    This has the potential to be one of the last great films of the decade. The novel had the uncanny ability to enthrall and enrapture while also throwing around some weighty themes that weren’t arresting. Peter J. will do some amazing things I believe.

  • 9 4-20-2009 at 5:45 pm

    andrew said...

    Bernardo: Is Heavenly Creatures not a strong drama?

    I’m not really worried about Wahlberg since he hasn’t dissapointed when working with a great director (PT Anderson, Scorsese). I wish Ryan Gosling was still on board though.

  • 10 4-20-2009 at 9:13 pm

    Vito said...

    Ryan Gosling is way too young to play a father of two, if you ask me. Which is why he was dropped.

  • 11 4-21-2009 at 3:39 pm

    Greek Town CasinoMichigan said...

    looks really cool!