A 14-year-old girl in suburban 1970's Pennsylvania is murdered by her neighbor. She tells the story from the place between Heaven and Earth, showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed all while attempting to get someone to find her lost body. Written by
The main reason Ryan Gosling quit his role as Jack before filming started was that during read-through sessions with Peter Jackson and the rest of the cast, he felt that, at 26, he was too young for the role. Jack was supposed to be in his late 30s. Despite repeated assurances from Jackson that he could portray Jack with proper makeup, Gosling insisted that, as a method actor, he would not be able to portray the character well enough and was finally let go. Mark Wahlberg was brought in only one day before shooting started. See more »
In the mall scene there is a "First Act" drum set in the background scenery. First Act musical instruments did not begin until 1995. See more »
I remember being really small; too small to see over the edge of a table. There was a snow globe, and I remember the penguin who lived inside the globe. He was all alone in there, and I worried for him.
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Forget the book, this film is a disaster on its own terms
Pretty to look at, beautiful at times even, but with all his distractions Jackson has somehow managed to take brutal and disturbing subject matter and leave me feeling nothing apart from vague amusement and disbelief that he actually went there.
I haven't read the book, and even I could tell he completely missed the point. This story, which seems like it should be about the slow disintegration of a family following an unimaginable tragedy, has been turned into a campy whodunnit where you know who dun it from the start.
Rather than concentrate on the relationships between the characters, he fails to connect the dots, jumping perspectives often enough to break any of those connections. It comes across as a set of disjointed episodes with overdone cgi in between rather than a coherent story. The jumps are so jarring at times (Oh look, mom is moving out. Oh look, she's come back again) I have to wonder if some of this is down to the editing and there was far more here in earlier cuts.
There's one particularly tone-deaf sequence where the grandmother (Susan Sarandon, clearly enjoying herself) swoops in and tries to "cheer everyone up". Fair enough there are people who would do that in this sort of situation, but it is so so overdone - overflowing the washer, setting the kitchen ablaze, all to a bouncy rock soundtrack - that I couldn't help thinking of Mrs Doubtfire. Completely off-color for something like this. I was struggling already but kind of gave up at this point, even if I did want to see how far he would go - and the ending is a doozy! After the luminous first half-hour, where I thought there was potential for a serious shattered innocence angle, it's a long sequence of "wait... really?" moments.
The actors try hard, including Wahlberg who I have trouble taking seriously after "The Happening", and I'm pretty sure THEY understood the real story here, but Jackson gives them very little to work with. Actors often say they don't like to watch their own work, because it's almost always disappointing to see a different story than the one you thought you were telling, and they would be well-advised to stay away from this one because Jackson not only changes the story - he barely tells a story at all.
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