YMMV / The Lovely Bones

Book Examples

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In a way with Ruth's sexuality. As she appears attracted to women but as Susie described her watching her cousin undress it doesn't seem sexual. But her obsession with Susie and climbing in bed with Lindsey (even though in a platonic way) can both be read very much in certain ways. Her relations with Ray further complicate things as she kisses him to experiment and in one point gets alarmed she might have felt something. And then you know Susie uses her body to have sex with Ray. At that point a lot of people give up trying to classify Ruth at all.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Apparently this comes up for some about unguarded cornfields being ways for kids to walk home from school. It's either normal or really weird depending on area.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Naturally, since Susie is dead, and also Mr. Harvey is never caught by the police.
    • Arguably also undermining the point, as justice plays no real part in the family moving on. To many this would seem to be the major takeaway from the book. The lovely bones have grown without it and that is quite enough for the characters in the book to be happy.
  • Tear Jerker: From the book: when the family dog dies, Susie worries that he won't recognize her after so many years apart. He does.
    • Also the book's description of Jack dealing with the bottles. "All the years they marked and the hands that had held them. His dead father's, his dead child's"
    • Susie's charm bracelet. It's known that she was wearing it when she was murdered. Years later, Len hears about a murder victim found with a charm that didn't belong to them. Abigail and Jack recognize the charm as Susie's, but without the rest of her body and the bracelet itself, there's no way to prove it. Later still, the bracelet surfaces at the landfill— but nobody who sees it realizes its significance. It would lead the police to Susie's body and it would link her murder to others, possibly allowing for evidence to be brought against Mr. Harvey, but this isn't that kind of story.
    • When Ruth asks Lindsey if she misses her sister, Lindsey replies, "More than anyone will ever know."

Film Examples

  • Angst? What Angst?: Even taking into account the time-span between Susie's murder and Grandma Lynn's arrival at the house, she seems remarkably blase about the fact her eldest grandchild had been murdered.
    • Perhaps it's clearer in the novel, but the film's loose depiction of the timeline leaves open the weak possibility that she dealt with the initial shock of the event in a previous visit more immediately after the murder.
      • Grandma Lynn's equivalent visit in the novel is much, much later in the timeline than it is in the movie.
    • Alternate Character Interpretation: Given how she's often seen with alcohol and brings two bottles into the house with her, that seems to suggest she had her own way of coping.
  • Complete Monster: The film version of George Harvey is an antisocial loner as well as a depraved Serial Killer, whose victims are female and preferably children. At the beginning, Harvey lures and murders Susie Salmon, after which he decided to continue kidnapping and killing until it becomes a habit. Harvey later tries to kill Susie's sister Lindsey after she obtains evidence proving his guilt. While watching from Heaven, Susie sees that over the years, Harvey murdered several other girls, including his landlady and a six-year-old. Moments before his death, Harvey attempts to lure another victim to her death.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film did quite well in Ireland and has a good number of Irish fans — due to Saoirse Ronan as the lead.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Susie's behavior with her camera becomes this with the rise of the trend of selfies.
  • Narm: The delivery of "It's Heaven!"
  • Narm Charm: Mr Harvey's appearance in the movie ticks every box on "serial killer" stereotypes, but it doesn't make Stanley Tucci's performance any less scary.
  • Special Effect Failure: Movie Heaven to some people. Either on it's own or by them wanting more the town with roads layout of the book
  • Tear Jerker: Many moments, especially when Susie meets the other murder victims and the youngest one runs up and gives her a hug, but your mileage may vary between certain scenes.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Susie's in-between world is seriously trippy. Especially in the movie.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: Ryan Gosling had this reaction about being cast himself as Jack. He ultimately left, feeling he was too young for the part — and was replaced by Mark Wahlberg.