13 March 2010

review: the lovely bones

About a month or so ago, I watched a movie that affected me deeply, daily. For nearly a month I was filled with a new awareness, new eyes. I was changed by what I saw.

The Lovely Bones opened my eyes to another facet of human behavior and experience I had never given much thought to. That is, though I am saddened and disheartened by the thought of murdered children, war, and the heartache of life, this movie placed me inside the heart and mind of a murdered adolescent female in a very personal way.

I saw the movie four times, so moved was I by the presentation. I had read the book, but the movie succeeded in a way that the book did not. For me, the book took off on tangents that distracted me from the only thing that really interested me, which were the thoughts and experiences of the main character.

The movie skipped all the distracting features of the book, and concentrated on the girl’s reaction to her experience, as well as the family’s reactions to losing a daughter in the bloom of her life.

There was one scene in particular that really opened my eyes to the loss of these young lives, and the secondary loss that occurs as they fade from our memories.

In this particular scene, all the victims of the movie’s serial killer appear in a field, a bountiful field of heaven, where they live forever together, nurturing and loving each other. Bonded by a terrible and pointless fate, they turn from earthly desire to each other, even as they know they will fade ever so quickly from our awareness.

At once I realized – yes, it was true - I had forgotten them. Until that moment I did not realize that I had never really thought about the victims of serial killers. True, they have been stories to me, faces on the news, but they have been sad, distant. Pictures of lost children on milk cartons.

But at that instant, I was struck with a knowledge and understanding I had never perceived before: first, they lose their lives, followed swiftly by another loss: they lose us. They fade from our collective memory, they fade from our view, as the earth turns, days follow days, and we move on.

It is a reminder to me to Be Aware of each precious person, even as we swim in a sea of predators in a dangerous world. I will never hear the news of a murdered child quite the same again. I have been sensitized.

The music that Peter Jackson, the director, chose for this scene made it all the more poignant: Song To The Siren, as performed by This Mortal Coil (Cocteau Twins). A beautiful rendition which, in my humble opinion, has never been surpassed. You can listen to it in the post beneath this one.

this moral coil: song to a siren