Movie VS. Book: The Lovely Bones

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After I finished reading The Lovely Bones novel by Alice Sebold, I immediately watched the movie version. Since I’m not really keen on comparing books and movies, I would like to mention a few things that I noticed… or didn’t quite like… or liked too much, for that matter. I guess watching the movie while the book is still fresh on my mind had its perks but it was mostly unfavorable. For instance, I became one of those disgruntled ‘the-book-was-so-much-better’ fans who would notice every little detail and complain about it.

To put it simply, I thought the movie would’ve been better if they didn’t change A LOT of the details. As someone who read the book, I felt like there was something MISSING. Actually, the movie was lacking. It was kinda butchered… no pun intended, since we all know what happened to Susie Salmon. ^_^;; ANYWAY… I felt like they should have included THIS and THAT… I was questioning why THIS character or that scene was not in the movie. I was so meticulous when it comes to the characters because I felt a sort of connection to each and everyone of them. From Susie to Grandma Lynn to Ruana Singh and even to Hal Heckler. I felt like all the characters from the book NEEDED to be in the movie. They were all part of it, no matter how minor their part seemed to be. The scene where the people from the neighborhood, from school and Susie’s family gathered at the cornfield on the anniversary of her death was just touching. I would’ve LOVED to see that in the movie.

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The movie was fast-paced while the book was the opposite. There was no specific timeline in the movie coz everything was a blur, whereas in the book you could feel the days, months and years passing by. You could feel the characters getting older and slowly, painstakingly, moving on with their lives. Of course the book was draggy but it wasn’t completely boring for me. It was one of those books that I’d get lost in while reading. The movie wasn’t as compelling as the book; although there were some really beautiful scenes.

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In particular, I’d have to say they did a fantastic job in the Susie-looking-over-earth-while-she’s-in-the-in-between part. I couldn’t quite imagine that while reading the book. I thought Susie would just be in the same room or place as the person she’s watching and she’d be invisible, like an apparition or something. Len and Abigail’s secret affair was only slightly implied. You wouldn’t even notice it if you don’t pay that much attention. I would’ve given everything to see Hal Heckler and Ruana Singh. I was hoping to see more of Lindsey and Samuel – from the awkward stage to the lovey-dovey stage. I didn’t feel Lindsey growing up or maturing during the film. Yes, she changed her clothes, put on some makeup and had a boyfriend… but you could actually feel her maturity in the book. I have nothing against the actress though, she was the perfect Lindsey. I was anticipating the scene where Ray Singh became the first suspect. I thought that was a vital part of the plot, but when I saw his love note getting blown away into Ruth’s hands, I already knew that they changed something. The terror induced by the crime in their neighborhood and the whole school, the police cars patrolling and questioning people, knocking on every door… there was none of that. If there was, it was not enough. 😦 Moreover, where’s the friggin’ elbow? Susie’s elbow! It was supposed to be something that would induce fear among the people in the neighborhood and devastation in her family…

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The cornfield scene was terrifying though, thanks to Stanley Tucci‘s superb acting as Mr. Harvey. I liked it every time they did a closeup on his eyes and you could actually feel the ‘lust’ and see the horrifying monster inside him.

Actually, if you see the movie as a normal person (LOL), I mean, without reading the book, you would like it. I would’ve. The movie stands alone so even if you didn’t read the book, you won’t get lost or confused in any way. It was a lovely movie, to say the least. It was a complete package and it would really move you to tears. The book was frustrating and simply depressing but the movie was enjoyable (in a melancholic way) and it was very touching.

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The best scene for me was when Lindsey broke into Mr. Harvey’s house. The suspense was just too much! I felt like I was Susie and I was watching my sister as she scavenge my murderer’s house for proof, just so our dad would not be seen as a mad man. I was holding my breath while watching that and I was screaming for her to run for her life. Haha. Of course I knew she wouldn’t get caught but still… 🙂

Actually, the changes they made in the movie were necessary to make it a complete different version from the book. The turn/chain of events, the climax, the characters  – everything felt different. It wasn’t like watching a movie adaptation, it was like watching something roughly based on the book. Not that I’m complaining. I guess the actors did a brilliant job in portraying the characters that I’m willing to forgive and forget what the movie lacks.

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I hated Susie’s mother. She was my least fave character from the book or the movie. I mean, your daughter just died, your husband’s going mad and the whole family is breaking apart and your solution is to RUN AWAY?! Seriously, dude. That was some selfish bitch act. If I was Lindsey I wouldn’t have accepted her easily when she came back. I’m sorry but I couldn’t understand people like her. Sure, this was NOT the life that she wanted in the first place but IT HAPPENED. Shit happens. And it was nobody’s fault, yes. Nobody should be blamed for whatever transpired. But as a mother, she should be the one helping her family cope up with this. Not running away to another man’s arms and abandoning your family like that is not gonna help. I know that a death in the family would either bring the family together or break it apart, but she selfishly demolished her family for her own good. I would understand if she just wanted to take some time away to clear her head, forget about things and move on. But she just ran off to some place without any explanation to her kids. Sorry but I had no sympathy for her. Even after she came back, I still despised her. >_<

The movie wasn’t really disappointing because it did have its own charms and I saw it as something different from the book. But of course the book is better. The book will always be better. 🙂

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2 comments

  1. Anna · January 11, 2015

    Awesome article. Well-done. 🙂 I was unsure whether or not I wanted to see the movie adaption, but this helped me immensely. Thank you.

  2. renazzle · July 30, 2016

    What frustrated me was the scene in the movie where she dies. It would have been creepier if you could hear her killer say “just tell me you love me!” When she is running.

    The other annoying part is when she kisses ray at the end, because so much more happened in the book.

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