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A brief history of rape in the cinema… October 16, 2009

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics.
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Birth (2004)

Originally published in Flux

Peter Jackson’s adaptation of “The Lovely Bones” hits cinemas this December. The book, written by Alice Sebold, tells the story of Susie Salmon, a young girl who is raped and murdered. The book was controversial upon its release for its subject matter, especially in the fact that it describes Susie’s rape in detail.

The major difference between the novel and the film is, however, that the rape will not be depicted on screen, but rather implied. It’s not clear whether this was an artistic decision, or if the change was made in an effort to be more ‘family-friendly’ to attract fans of Jackson’s previous franchise, the Lord of the Rings film series.

The controversial plotline even had some of the film’s stars worried. When they heard that the scene would not be included in the film, many were relieved.

“I was very nervous,” says Stanley Tucci, who plays the film’s antagonist and Susie’s murderer. “I can’t watch movies where anything happens to a kid.” Irish-born Saoirse Ronan, who was just thirteen when she auditioned for the film, was also grateful for the change.