I felt as though Jackson didn't understand the more important parts of Sebold's original story, and thus left out details and ideas that I thought should have been present in the film. I realize, however, that adapting literature to film is not an easy task, and that changing some scenes or characters or sub-plots, are very necessary to fit a 372-page novel into a 2-hour movie... so I'm cutting him some slack. But changing the plot from a girl raped and murdered into just a girl murdered really toned down the mood of the story. Jackson chose to present the story to a younger audience, maybe, so for me, I felt like it wasn't as real or raw as it could have been. The Heavens of the book and the film are completely different as well. Jackson's Heavens consisted of things, places, clothes, fun, and it is shared only by two young girls (Holly and Susie). Sebold's Heavens consisted of people, and their ideas. In one part of the book, Susie steps back and watches another girl twirl and twirl and making her skirt go out wide like a circle (no citation because I can't find the page, sorry). I thought this was a spectacular definition of a Heaven, or even happiness. Susie's Heaven is different from other people's ideas of Heaven, even Holly's. Sometimes Holly disappears for a while because she goes away to a part of Heaven that doesn't include Susie. Jackson's Heaven for Susie was a generalization of every little girl's slumber party. Other than the dramatic visuals, and twinkling music, I really don't think Jackson performed in any other aspect of the film, especially the theme. The actress who played Susie Salmon, Saoirse Ronan, did an alright job in portraying 14-year-old Susie Salmon. But I didn't like how the film didn't explore the mature side of Susie, the "older", experienced Susie that wished the readers a "long and happy life" at the end of the novel.
Read the book.
The movie is alright, but it pales in comparison to the book.
~Okay, I have a few outfit photos (and randoms) I haven't posted yet, so here they are: