When it comes to immortality and the afterlife, movies tend to get sticky. Try as they might to picture Heaven, Hell, or the "in-between" — as the post-mortem holding pattern in Peter Jackson's fulsome adaptation of the Alice Sebold bestseller is called — with surreal intensity, the places come off looking like variations on Disney World. In Jackson's Candy Land–colored Limbo, giant beachballs loll in the surf and the leaves of a tree turn into a flock of goldfinches.
It's all backed by the unending voiceover narration of Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), who keeps reminding us that she was murdered in 1973, at age 14, and that her killer (Stanley Tucci) has not been brought to justice. What one does in the beyond, it would seem, is worry about how the folks (Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz) will cope and brood over revenge while an irritating Asian girl urges you to move on.
It looks like a piece of cake, but I still prefer Dante.