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The Lovely Bones

Trailer transcript


Susie receives a camera for her eleventh birthday. Before her murder, she takes photographs of, amongst other things, her mother. Once developed, Susie notices one of the photos shows her mother from a new perspective: not as a ‘mother’ but as ‘Abigail’.

To what extent does the camera function as a vehicle to introduce other themes and drive the narrative? Can you identify these?

Between chapters 16 and 17 sits a titled chapter: 'Snapshots' in which Susie tells us:

‘I had rescued the moment by using my camera and in that way had found a way to stop time and hold it.’

What follows in this chapter are a series of 'snapshots' including, amongst other things, her mother leaving the family home, food parcels left by the neighbours, Grandma Lynn moving in, Mr Harvey's disappearance, Lindsey's discovery of her mother's affair and Len's discovery of the truth about George Harvey. Paradoxically, the chapter in which Susie claims to have found a way to ‘ stop time‘ covers more years than any other: annual memorial gatherings organised by her father, Ray going to college, her mother's life in California, and Buckley growing up. Susie describes her perspective on these events as ‘ photographs’.

‘I would lay these photographs down in my mind, those gathered from constant watching, and I could trace how one thing – my death – connected these images to a single source. No one could have predicted how my loss would change small moments on Earth. But I held onto those moments, hoarded them. None of them were lost as long as I was there watching.’ (Chapter 16)

  • To what extent is Susie’s camera and photographs a symbolic representation of memory?
  • Susie’s camera features in the film’s trailer. Do you expect the camera to feature as a significant prop in the film as a whole? Why?
  • What mention of the camera and the photographs do you notice in the novel that you think might be included by the filmmakers? What is their significance? For ideas see Chapters 3, 17, 19 and 23.