It’s on to day 19 of the 30DBC! Today’s challenge had me pretty stumped cause I wasn’t too sure what the criteria was. Does it need to be a movie I have read the book of? Or just a movie that so happened to be adapted from a book? Did it have to be adapted faithfully? Or could I just choose She’s the Man, which was loosely adapted from Twelfth Night?
I decided to take it as a book I have read and a movie I have watched, and a (as near as you can get) adaption of the book.
So I decided to choose …
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Chosen soundtrack piece: The Lovely Bones – 8M1
The story is told from the perspective of 14-year-old, Susie Salmon, a victim of rape and murder in a cornfield near her home. A majority of the story is told from after she dies, when her spirit is stuck at an in-between-state. In this state she is forced to observe how the people who knew her cope with her death. She is also stuck, watching her father’s unwavering determination to find the murderer and grapple with his loss.
I watched the movie adaptation of it a year or two after it actually came out. I hunkered down in front of my television on a rainy day and just watched it.
The movie version features Saoirse Ronan as little Susie Salmon. And featured Mark Wahlberg as Susie’s father and Rachel Weisz as her mother. It was directed by the brilliant Peter Jackson (of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and King Kong).
It had been some time between reading the book and watching the movie (maybe that’s a good thing), so I can’t quite say whether the two were identical – all I can say was that they both captured Susie’s death in the most gruesome manner and also captured her after-life as both a nail-biting struggle of helplessness …
and her final satisfaction and acceptance that she was just not there, in the world, anymore.
Jackson portrayed this through contrasting images of violence and gorgeous visuals (for the supposed “heaven” place which Susie travels between). The lighting was absolutely gorgeous for this movie. It was definitely a feast for the eyes and the emotions.
The one thing I loved about both the movie and book was that they made one question what made a person (the murderer) commit such crimes and yet appear so normal – I’m not so sure whether to reveal the murderer of Susie here (it actually becomes quite obvious pretty early in the story – actually it’s already revealed in the trailer) but I just don’t want to spoil anything about him here. All I can say is that he was brilliantly acted – possibly the best character in the entire movie. Absolutely terrifying.
It is through the victims of the murderer in which Susie realises the gravity of the situation, how she is part of a massive addiction a mad man has with little girls, and how, as readers and viewers alike, we realise the quiet crime which is rape and murder in the US. Girls who are suddenly gone, physically abused and then dismembered in a ditch, and who are never found by their families. Sometimes seeing photos of girls missing online – it reminds me of little Susie Salmon.
To me, The Lovely Bones wasn’t exactly a story on how to cope with death – it was more of what just happens. It doesn’t tell you how you should move on exactly – it just tells you how people do finally come to accept that a person is (not essentially gone) but just accepted as just not physically there anymore. It is how these people cope with death that reveals their true nature: their kindness, their anguish, their fear of accepting the truth.
The most touching part of it for me was the relationship Susie had with her dad, how they used to make ships in a bottle and how he broke a whole lot of them when he realised she was gone. And how he analysed every one of the random photos his daughter took in the hopes of finding an answer as to why she died. How, even years after she died, he still wanted to find the murderer of her death. How it almost drove him insane.
At the end of the day, I believe this book and movie has a special place in my heart. I could have easily chosen any other adaptation. I could have chosen Harry Potter, I could have chosen Perks of Being a Wallflower (but I watched the movie before reading the book), and I could have chosen Fight Club and Ender’s Game (which I mentioned earlier). But I chose The Lovely Bones because I believe that both the book and the movie were winners and I cannot really claim one was really better than the other. They both tell the same story in different ways, and that’s why I chose it as my favourite, and most apt, book turned into a movie choice.
So, here’s a trailer for the curious:
And I will catch you tomorrow! But if you want to catch more wonderful books turned to movies, turn to Rhey of Sunshine‘s blog as we both conquer this 30 Day Book Challenge together. 🙂
Till next time,