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even my cool hat couldn't protect me...


Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Rose McIver

Buckley: Grandma, I know where Susie is.
Grandma: Yeah, Susie’s…gone to heaven, sweetheart.
Buckley: Lindsey says there is no heaven.
Grandma: Alright then, she’s dead.
Buckley: You might be dead soon.
Grandma: Why do you say that?
Buckley: Because you’re old.

After being murdered, Susie (Ronan) is stuck in a sort of limbo between earth and heaven, unable to move forward due to the ties she can’t break.  Meanwhile, her family struggles to move on after being struck by this tragedy.

Yikes, this movie is just all over the place.  Is it a serious drama about a murdered 14 year old girl?  Is it a Twilight-esque love story?  Is it dark and scary?  Is it a family movie with a few comedic interludes?  Well…it tries to be all of them, and only succeeded occasionally.

I liked some of the visuals and the idea of Susie being unable to leave behind her need for vengeance and her desire to protect her family.  That stuff was pretty good, but the entire romantic subplot involving her need for one kiss with this boy she knew for about 12 minutes was tiresome.  As was the entire grandmother character.  She’s supposed to be some big whirlwind of personality, but she feels totally out of place in this movie.  Especially the montage of her cleaning up the house.  It reminded me of the clean-up montage featuring Goldie Hawn in Overboard.  That fit in that movie…not in this one.

Also, I hate to say it, but Mark Wahlberg once again displays his lack of dramatic acting ability.  Plus, he and Weisz have absolutely no believability as a couple.  No chemistry there at all.  For this movie to work, the family needed to feel like a real, loving family, and it doesn’t.  It all just feels fake.  The only real quality performance is from Stanley Tucci.  He is very very creepy as the killer, George Harvey.  Maybe too creepy, as I’m not sure what kid (or adult) would trust that guy for a second.

The imagery of semi-heaven, or whatever it may be, is alright, but nothing profoundly great.  Those kinds of sequences are more in Peter Jackson’s wheelhouse, so I was expecting a little more from them I guess.

There are a couple of other good moments, and it will surely draw a tear or two at times (a story about murdered children is bound to), but all in all, it just feels like a big jumbled mess.  I’m sure the book had more room to expand on certain characters and themes, but obviously they couldn’t all fit into the movie.  So, we’re left with some shallow characters and a lot of confusing scenes.

Don’t follow creepy men into their creepy underground bunkers.

10 – 2.5 because the tone of the movie is just all over the place – 1 for the characters not being very well developed – 1 for some iffy acting = 5.5