Narrators Who Speak from the Dead

This weekend, The Lovely Bones -- the film adaptation of the best-selling Alice Sebold novel, directed by Lord of the Rings' Peter Jackson -- comes to theaters. Like the book, the film is narrated by its protagonist: a teenage girl who has been murdered and chooses to haunt her family until her killer is brought to justice. The character is played by Atonement's Saoirse Ronan in a performance that's already getting raves.

Having a murder victim narrate her own story is a fantastic idea, but it's not the first time it's been done. Here are three other movies and TV shows told from the perspective of a murdered main character:

Sunset Boulevard
This 1950 film noir begins with William Holden floating facedown in a pool. He then narrates the story of the end of his life, and his twisted screenwriting-assignment-turned-romance with faded movie star Norma Desmond. The plot starts out like a juicy Hollywood tell-all -- but since we know it ends in a gruesome murder, every scene takes on an aura of danger.

Desperate Housewives
The show's narrator, cheery housewife Mary Alice, began the series with a bang -- by shooting herself in her suburban home with a revolver. Mary Alice's tragic story -- involving a stolen baby and a murdered heroine addict -- leaked out slowly over the course of Season 1, making it the series' most compelling year to date.

American Beauty
The 1999 film, with its now-iconic images of a plastic bag floating in the wind and Mena Suvari covered in rose petals, takes place over the course of Kevin Spacey's midlife crisis. In the final scene, we hear his recollections as he's dying -- and his realization that his life has been pretty good after all.

Watch the trailer for The Lovely Bones here:

 
 

Plus: Holiday Movies We Can't Wait to See!

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