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Book Examples

  • Angst? What Angst?: Lindsey in a complicated sense. It's not that she doesn't grieve for Susie at all—tears are shed, and her grief fuels her drive to prove Harvey as Susie's killer—but compared to the rest of her family, it seems that she's trying to pull herself together faster. Or at least, she's trying to avoid getting the identity of "the murdered girl's sister."
  • 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 reads like a Stalker with a Crush. Her relations with Ray further complicate things as she kisses him to experiment and in one point gets alarmed she might have felt something. In one of these scenes she even tells him, he can pretend she is Susie and there is also another scene having her climbing in bed with Lindsey in a platonic way. And lastly 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.
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  • Cry for the Devil: Susie flashes back into Harvey's past to provide some moments from his childhood that can qualify. Like how his father ordered his mother out of the car on a highway and drove off. Harvey never saw his mother again.

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. Part of this is due to a book-to-film change - as Grandma Lynn doesn't visit until much later in the book and the time is vaguer in the film. But since she brings two bottles of scotch to the house and is always seen with a glass in her hand, she appears to have her own way of coping.
  • Award Snub: Stanley Tucci was the only one who got an Oscar nomination, despite most of the praise going to Saoirse Ronan. Rose McIver meanwhile was completely ignored, despite turning in a spirited performance too.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Grandma Lynn has detractors who feel she provides unnecessary comic relief in a story where a teenage girl is murdered, not to mention the fact that we never see her mourning Susie. Others however find her Actually Pretty Funny, due to Susan Sarandon's Large Ham performance - and in any case she doesn't overshadow the main cast.
  • 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.
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  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Susie and Holly clearly have a lot of fun inside their heaven. Even when the movie shows that it's all shallow escapism, the scenes and special effects still look spectacular.
  • 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 became this with the rise of the trend of selfies.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Although the story was trashed by critics, the performances of Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan got unanimous praise.
  • Narm: The delivery of "It's Heaven!"
  • Narm Charm: Mr Harvey's appearance in the movie ticks every box of "serial killer" stereotypes, but it doesn't make Stanley Tucci's performance any less scary.
  • Special Effect Failure: The make-up to have Lindsay appear younger in the early scenes. They give Rose McIver Girlish Pigtails and braces, but she's visibly older than Saoirse Ronan. Case in point - after Susie's death, Lindsay looks eighteen at the youngest.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • A good amount of fans didn't like the changes to the movie's version of the in-between. It's mostly a ghost town in the book, but the movie changes it to a spectacular fantasy land bordering on Gratuitous Special Effects.
    • Making Grandma Lynn function as comic relief got a few complaints too. But not as much as others, due to Susan Sarandon proving Actually Pretty Funny for some.
    • The tone shift from the novel, making things Lighter and Softer. Roger Ebert in particular felt the film was unintentionally creepy as a result.
    • Character development was a big feature of the book allowing the reader to grow with these characters as time passes on, and the movie really cut out a lot for characters like Lindsey, Ray and Ruth. To say even less of how much Buckley and Samuel have most of their bigger moments in the book featured only passingly in the movie.
    • Abigail's affair with Detective Len is completely cut out of the film, which is a major crux of her character.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Many critics agreed that Saoirse Ronan's performance was by far and away the best thing about the film, and it was credited with kick-starting Ronan's career in Hollywood despite the film's own lack of success.
  • 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.

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