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Headscratchers: The Lovely Bones
  • Film only: Why does every single synopsis (including on this very wiki) state that Susie was "raped and killed"? Because if I remember correctly, at no point in the movie is it said or even implied that Harvey raped her. I know that this was explicitly stated in the book, and that there were good reasons to remove it from the film. But still, watching the film as it is, Harvey might as well "only" have killed her. The same goes for all his other victims. And don't say this goes without saying, there have been plenty of serial killers who gained pleasure solely from the killing itself and did not sexually violate their victims.
    • The way Harvey acts and just looks at the girls he either kills(Susie) or thinks about killing seems to suggest a very blatant sexual desire.
    • One of Susie's lines about Harvey's victims is "he had only wanted to touch her". That implies something sexual was involved. Alternately, they're just using the book's synopsis.
  • Another one from the book: years after her murder, Mr Harvey returns to Susie's old neighborhood; as his car passes by, Susie's psychic classmate, Ruth, sees the spirits of the girls he's murdered, and the shock somehow causes her to switch places with Susie temporarily. Susie seems to be aware she's not going to be on Earth for very long. Rather than tip off the police about the location of the serial killer they've been chasing for years - or talk to her family one last time - she takes the opportunity to have sex with the boy she liked in middle school?! Luckily spirit Ruth doesn't seem to mind her own body being used this way, even though the boy's her best friend and she's a lesbian.
    • This troper interpreted things differently. Susie envied her sister for doing the things that she couldn't, including being with the boy she loved. The whole book is about acceptance, and Susie accepted long ago that Harvey killed her. Plus he got what he deserved at the end. Ruth on the other hand was waiting and watching in heaven where she met with all the girls and women whose presence she felt on Earth. To her it was a fair trade.
      • Speaking of, what's up with Susie being able to possess Ruth in the first place? Could she do that the whole time? Why didn't she do that before? And why only Ruth? In the book, Ruth is explicitly clairvoyant, but prior to the possession scene, this is only alluded to once, in the form of a very vague throwaway line that could have just as easily been describing Ruth as autistic or something.
      • T His troper assumes it is because she is clairvoyant, and a matter of things lining up
      • While we're on that subject, why didn't Susie tell Ray (or Ruth, for that matter) that her body was in the safe when she knew it was in there- the police were ALREADY searching for Harvey, who hadn't gone that far? I guess making out with Ray was more important?
      • Presumably it was a part of the concept of moving on. Susie spent most of the movie urging her father to get revenge for her death. When it looks like he'd finally get it, he was nearly killed and she had to watch.
      • My issues with that sort of sentiment is twofold: First off, the fact that Harvey wound up getting away and only died due to a freak accident doesn't give proper closure to Susie's family. The fact that they weren't even able to bury their daughter, a basic dignity that should be afforded any grieving parent, was just wrong. So in refusing to actually DO something about the fact that Harvey was within grasp of the law just to fulfill some baser lust, we see Susie acting rather...selfishly. Secondly, accepting a person's death and accepting your own fate is definitely something one should come to terms with, but since when has accepting your death meant that you should disregard the fact that the depraved monster who raped and killed you was right there and could have been apprehended by the law had you acted; especially considering that doing so would have given Susie's family true closure in regards to her death? And finally, how is getting a depraved serial killer arrested "revenge?" Since when has proper justice being exacted counted as "revenge?" Susie's father murdering Harvey with a baseball bat in an act of vigilante rage, yeah...
      • While important not to say every character speaks directly from the author, but this is a bigger point beyond the book. The characters clearly get closure without the need for "justice"/"revenge" and to a lot of people that is the big take away message. The idea that it ticks some people off is certainly not a surprise either. But in a way some of this has some major morality whitewashing to it. Justice and revenge are of course cut from the same cloth, and some people clearly think inflicting more suffering on your suffering is modern reasons to cite proverbs like "an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind" and "people who fight monsters shouldn't avoid becoming monsters". It seems bizarre to some people to preach turning the other cheek and acceptance. If one of these two is a "true" way to closure is something i don't think we can really say as it's a moral issue.
      • To this troper, i find it a bit revealing how many people think the way to closure should be locking up executing people in revenge instead of acceptance and rebuilding your life. And in a way it makes me feel a lot of people wouldn't ever let "the lovely bones" as Susie calls them grow in them like Susie's family did.
      • This troper interpreted it as a moral about choosing to live a little bit more life rather than wasting the opportunity trying to destroy someone else's, however deserving.
      • The real point of contention shouldn't be whether it's worth it to get revenge, or if ruining Harvey's life would be justice or revenge. The point of contention is that this man is an incredibly dangerous ephebophile who had, and would have continued to, rape and murder innocent young girls to satisfy himself. To refuse to stop him out of a need for peace or moral high ground is incredibly irresponsible. It has nothing to do with him "deserving it" or not. Is it really so disturbing to want someone who is a danger to the community at least locked away where he can't hurt anyone?
      • This troper thought that scene with Ray and Susie/Ruth was a total Squick scene and skipped that chapter.
  • Somehow Susie was able to tell her little brother that she was in the In-Between. Why not tell him who the murderer was?
    • Susie states in the novel that she doesn't know if Buckley actually knows she's in the In-Between or if he's just making it up.
  • The one thing that bugs me is how was Susie not able to tell that Harvey was a creep? I know she trusted him because he was a friend of her parents, but what would you think if some guy you hardly know invited you into an underground area and tells you it's "kids only"? He even sounded creepy by the way he talked.
    • Not to mention that the man makes dollhouses in his spare time. Squick.
      • It was the 70s, long before everyone played spot the pedo. She would have just dismissed him as a harmless eccentric.
      • Even in the 2010s what's so creepy about designing dollhouses or even miniature houses? Especially if you are an architect nerd, i'm sure there's plenty of grown men with them around the house. He's never described as ever having played with them and it's said he takes orders so he's also making money off it, which again sounds like a pretty neat craftsman job
    • Susie did seem nervous about following him and she kept trying to leave, suggesting she really didn't trust him. Why she didn't follow her instincts is anyone's guess.
      • The answer is the same reason real girls sometimes get killed by creepy men, surely?
  • In the book it's implied that Susie psychically causes an icicle to drop onto her murderer killing him. The metaphysics that ghost can somehow get revenge by directly killing someone rises the question: many of history's greatest monsters have gone on to live long rich lives, so what make her so special that she gets blood when so many others don't?
    • Well, she's the narrator, and she never says "I made the icicle drop on Mr. Harvey", so any part she played in his death is, at best, vaguely implied. It could also just be a coincidence.
    • Could be that monsters who survived had ghosts who found it easier to move on. Could be they never walked under loose icicles that ghosts could manage to manipulate. Could be they found their comeuppance in other ways; plenty of history's greatest monsters have been uncovered or met fitting ends as well. Several things, really.
    • Susie is a spirit who was killed in a devastating and emotional way (raped & murdered), and could possibly be able to manifest as some sort of poltergeist. Perhaps because Susie felt so strongly in that moment that was able to influence her desire.
      • That is irrelevant. There have been billions and billions of people who died in incredibly traumatic and horrifying fashions throughout history that never got their revenge. Susie's death was horrifying, sure—but being raped and murdered isn't exactly an uncommon death, and there's plenty of other disturbing ways to be tortured and killed. What makes her special where she could succeed where other ghosts failed? Even Mr. Harvey had more than one raped and murdered girl under his belt who failed to get revenge on him.
    • May be foreshadowing, the text of the book is Susie narrating to us in a past tense. At the moment she is mentioning the game from Lindsey's time at camp, if this is Susie after she already knew how Harvey would die, her comment becomes much less evil sounding and more of a foreshadow

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