The Lovely Bones is a grief-stricken movie about the investigation and aftermath of a missing young girl named Susie Salmon. The fate of young Susie and her story are told to the audience within the first five minutes of viewing the film. Susie is brutally raped and murdered at the age of 14 in a small town near Philadelphia in 1973. After her murder, the movie is presented as Susie’s story, for she is the protagonist. Susie narrates the entire film; showing her battle with purgatory and acceptance of fate as well as observing the life of her family as they go through the grieving process. In Peter Jackson’s film, The Lovely Bones, grief and its five main steps become the central theme among the characters during their struggle to accept the reality of Susie Salomon.
The first step in the Salmon’s grieving process is shock and denial. It is no surprise to the audience that Susie and her family endure a period of pure shock after she is gone. Once the news of Susie’s disappearance sinks in, the Salmons do not want to believe that their child is missing and potentially dead. Once the shock of the traumatic event is realized, the denial phase kicks in. The denial phase for Susie’s parents occurs when her hat is discovered in the cornfield that Susie is murdered in by her neighbor, Mr. Harvey. Peter Jackson shows his audience through eight years that Susie and especially her family are not ready to accept the reality of Susie’s fate. Jackson demonstrates Susie’s denial of death shortly after her murder, “I wasn't lost, or frozen, or gone... I was alive; I was alive in my own perfect world” (The Lovely Bones).
The next theme in the grieving process is anger. Anger can appear in many different ways after the loss of a loved one. The character in the film that portrayed the most anger towards him and the situation is Susie’s dad, Jack Salmon. Jack is more than determined to find out who committed this heinous crime to his sweet daughter. As the case grows cold,...
Cited: The Lovely Bones. Mark Walberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Surandon, Saoirse Ronan. Dreamworks, 2009.
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