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The film was set in New Zealand based on the diary of teen Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) about her friendship with a young English girl called Juliet (Kate Winslet).
They do everything together, including going on holiday with Juliet's family to Port Levy and imagining a secret fourth world. They also create some fictional characters which feature in claymation sequences throughout the film.
As time passes they fall in love, start to plan to kill Pauline's mother and run away together.
Will they go through with it? Will their love be allowed to blossom in conservative 1950s Christchurch?
Pauline - Melanie Lynskey (The Perks of Being a Wallflower; TV's Two and a Half Men)
Juliet - Kate Winslet (Titanic; Enigma)
Pauline's parents - Sarah Peirse (The Hobbit 2 & 3) & Simon O'Connor (nothing outside New Zealand)
Juliet's parents - Diana Kent (Billy Eliott) & Clive Merrison (The English Patient)
Directed by Peter Jackson and co-written with his partner Fran Walsh.
Not counting the credits the film last for 92 minutes which does not drag which is a pleasant change for a film of this nature.
Rating: 18 - bit of an outdated rating and would easily be a 12A these days.
Cameo: Look out for Peter Jackson as a homeless guy kissed by Kate Winslet outside the cinema!
==Ratings and response==
IMDb has Heavenly Creatures sitting at 7.5/10 from 45,577 users with Rotten Tomatoes at an astonishing 94%. A very kind rating to be honest, the film was nowhere near engrossing enough for me and would be more like a 7/10 rating.
Jackson and Walsh received an Oscar nomination for "Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen", however lost out to Pulp Fiction which is a pretty reasonable result
It only ever received a limited release worldwide but has since gained cult fame and made most of its money on VHS/DVD sales. They only spent about £3 million making it, so it has been quite successful!
First thing to make you take notice of the film was Jackson's decision to include an infomercial from the 50s about the beautiful South Island city of Christchurch (which so tragically was the scene of a major earthquake in 2011 which destroyed the cathedral). It made you feel from the get-go that you were in a different time and to ignore the 1994 release date.
I spent the whole film trying to figure out where I knew Pauline from, and when I started writing this review I found her to be Rose from Two and a Half Men, I love that character and can understand from watching this film why she has developed a great career for herself; Titanic aside probably even outdoing Kate Winslet in terms of quality.
The fact that the film was based on a true story which you can read about on Wikipedia was not immediately obvious, so I had no idea what was going to happen and I got much more out of it than otherwise I would have. I like how it shows (very similar to The Imitation Game) how homosexuality was considered in New Zealand back in the 50s and it is put on par with Juliet's TB in terms of an illness. Having read through the real life case it seems as though Pauline's osteomyelitis was glossed over, although perhaps not as interesting to the average viewer as TB and teen lesbianism.
The film ends with blocks of text explaining what actually happened which is one of my favourite cinematic tools to make you read more into the story. What would we do without Wikipedia these days?
I'm not usually a big fan of classical music but the use of 4 Mario Lanza songs and a couple of Puccini pieces makes for a wonderful backdrop to quite an emotional film. There is however a scene where Kate Winslet performs Sono Andati which makes absolutely no sense to me. Perhaps a reader can explain the meaning of this in the comments section?
Unusually for me I actually viewed the DVD extras this time which featured an interview section called "Heavenly Creatures: Looking Back". In this segment three well regarded critics Kim Newman, Rosie Fletcher and Alan Jones discuss the film and how it was regarded at the time.
There is also a picture gallery which takes the form of PowerPoint presentation, although you can skip between pictures using the fast skip button on your DVD remote.
The disc featueres a much better way of presenting the trailers. Instead of putting them before the film making you skip until you lose the film to live, they have been put as an extra. Featuring 9 trailers (including one for Heavenly Creatures) of the films below.
A Marine Story
Life, Above All
The Wedding Song
Angel & Tony
Heavenly Creatures is currently available on DVD from Amazon for £7.98, however you can purchase the remastered limited edition DVD for the lower £5.99 (or £7.99 on BluRay). I recommend a rental as I don't think it would have any rewatchability.
We all know Kate Winslett from her star making turn in Titanic to her Oscar winning performance in The Reader but watching Heavenly Creatures which was her movie debut gives us a unique chance to see the young Kate before she morphed into the Hollywood superstar she is today.
It is also a chance for lord of the rings fans to see the director of that franchise Peter Jackson who started out making gore horror movies direct a completely different character piece movie and see how he has evolved as a director from then to now.
Set in 1950's New Zealand Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) a teenager with an over active imagination befriends the new girl at school Juliet (Kate Winslett) whose family have just moved over from England.
Their friendship starts off normal enough with Pauline and Juliet spending a lot of time together even though their backgrounds are very different with Pauline coming from a working class family and Juliet coming from a wealthy one. They are both intelligent with a love of reading, art and the music of Mario Lanzo and both are outcasts in their own ways.
During the course of two years their friendship things become more intense as they begin spending more and more time with each other and losing interest in anything outside this bubble. They invent a fantasy world called Borovnia where they begin to retreat too to escape the pressures from school and their families. In this world they are part of the royal family and they dress up and perform in stories they have written.
The girls are forced to separate when Juliet contracts tuberculosis and is sent away to recover at a clinic. Without each other the girls don't know what to do and begin writing to each other with Pauline taking on the role of the prince of Borovnia and Juliet the princess. These letters take on a decidedly romantically obsessive nature and when Juliet is released their intense friendship continues however their families have now noticed that their friendship is not the usual teenage girl variety and it is decided that they must be separated.
With Juliet to be sent to her aunt's in South Africa the girls are allowed to spend her last two weeks together. Both are inconsolable and this is where the film takes a much darker turn as the girls decide the only way for them to be together is to murder the people who stand in their way.
Wow. This film is so strange and weird but compulsive viewing. First of all the film is based on a true story and a lot of it is lifted from the actual entries in the real life Pauline's diary. I was so fascinated with this story that I had to research it when id seen it and I was shocked to discover the furore and the court case when this happened and that the girls were branded the evil by the press. The film certainly doesn't portray them as evil just two girls who clearly have mental problems who are obsessed with each other and desperate to be together which leads them into doing a terrible thing. I was also interested to note that the girls now have assumed identities but the press managed to find the real Juliet who is now a successful mystery author living in Scotland called Anne Perry. It really made me think that should these girls be allowed to forget their past and the terrible things they did or should they still be made to be accountable 40 years later when the movie was released?
But back to the film. The acting in this is first rate by the entire cast with Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslett both giving performances that are assured and confident and really getting under the characters skins. It is to their credit that even though the friendship was not normal by any standards it actually made me sad when they were to be separated.
Kate Winslett shows the range and star quality that has made her a star but poor Melanie Lynskey who plays Pauline with such verve and never once is overshadowed by Kate should have also been a star. She is absolutely fantastic in the film and I'm at a loss to understand why Kate Winslett got so many plaudits and roles on the back of this film and she slided into obscurity. It seems unfair after her remarkable performance and I just hope she manages to find good character parts now she is older so that can showcase her abilities as I really feel she should have got her chance just like Winslett.
Peter Jackson's direction is stylish but never showy and shows a real strength in handling the character development and doesn't rely on any fancy gimmicks to move the story forward. We all know that from lord of the rings that he can is great with special effects and here in Heavenly creatures he creates the fantasy world of Borovnia that is both wonderful and bizarre in its depiction of the clay creatures come to life.
He also wrote the script along with his partner Fran which was nominated for best original screenplay at the 1994 Oscars.
Heavenly creatures is a touching, bizarre and ultimately horrifying portrayal of a friendship between two teenage girls that crosses the line into something obsessive and unhealthy. A must see.
Heavenly Creatures is very much the film that established Peter Jackson as a bankable film director, and may very well have contributed to him getting the role of directing the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Prior to Heavenly Creatures, he had directed films such as Meet the Feebles and Braindead, which were entertaining but not exactly "serious" films, and it was this film that marked a stylistic departure that began to get him noticed by the Academy, notable as he was nominated for an Oscar for the film's script.
The film is an account of the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder, committed by two teenage girls in Christchurch, New Zealand. Social misfit Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) from a poor family, makes friends with the more well-off and upper class fifteen year old Juliet Hulme (Winslet). The friendship quickly becomes tightly-knit, to the point where Hulme's parents begin to feel that is becoming healthy, and potentially homophobic. Of course, the more that their parents try to pull them away, the closer they come together, resulting in a violent climax that is intensely disturbing to say the least. What's most virulently dark about this film is Jackson's fantastical direction, depicting the girls as they attempt to escape into a fantasy world where their parents aren't judgemenal, and they can live the lives of the whimsical, Austen-esque characters they've written about.
Arguably Peter Jackson's best work, and certainly more raw and compelling than his Lord of the Rings trilogy, Heavenly Creatures is a testament to the power of the imagination, but more importantly, is a deeply disturbing examination of the obsessive intensity of one co-dependent friendship. Spectacular performances by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey, stunning visual effects, and inventive direction from Peter Jackson make this a certifiable cult classic.
Today Peter Jackson is best known and loved for his interpretations of King Kong and Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings. But before he became famous, he was also responsible for cult b-movie schlock-horror Bad Taste and the highly entertaining Braindead. And, of course Heavenly Creatures which helped catapult Kate Winslet to the high heights of media celebrity that she enjoys now but which has largely been forgotten....
Based on a real-life New Zealand murder case in the fifties, the film centres around the lives of two teenage girls, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme (played by Winslet), who enter into a near-obsessive relationship with each other when they begin to share each other's fantasies and begin comparing imaginations. Both sets of parents become concerned about the intense nature of their relationship and try to keep them apart but the hysterics and tantrums that follow do not even bear tolerating. Parker too is sent to a psychiatrist for fear that she may be partaking in homosexual behaviour with her closest and only friend. But it is when circumstances conspire to seperate the girls for good that the relationship takes a decidely deadly turn and the two girls begin conspiring to murder Pauline Parker's mother; the woman both girls believe is solely responsible for keeping them apart. It is a tragic set of events that is set in motion and one that ends up having a reverse effect- for when the girls were eventually released from prison after serving their sentences many years later, their parole condirtions were based on the condition that they would never meet again!
Filmed in a similar style to Jackson's earlier production, Braindead, but covering a much more serious subject matter, Heavenly Creatures shares much in common with Pan's Labyrinth for it's use of fantastic imagery and bizarre set-pieces- used here to demonstrate the imaginations-run-wild of the two girls. There are even brief elements of Terry Gilliam's Brazil and though this film has never gained much more than a cult following, mostly by the fans of our own home-grown gal Winslet, it remains a firm favourite of mine for it's touch of surrealism that sets it apart from other such true-life tales. How accurate it is in places remains unclear, though Jackson based his screen-play on Parker's own diaries and testimony from their trial. Most of the film is mere build-up to the evil deed itself, though it flashes back from the beginning when we are first introduced to the girls running down the hill-side with blood coursing down their faces, and this only serves to make the final act a brutal and quite shocking climax!! But both girls deserve commendations for the authenticity they each bring to their roles though Melanie Lynskey who plays Parker has never had the fame and celebrity that Winslet went on to achieve.
If you like Peter Jackson or Kate Winslet or both of them but have never seen this then shame on you! Rent it immediately!!
It may not be the best film in the world but it gives a bit of an insight into a highly successful director's early days and background and rightly deserves to be recognised as an underground cult classic.
Heavenly creatures is a little known but netherthe less star of a film,if you are peter jackson fan then take a look.It tells the story of two teenagers who become friends and go to drastic lengths to stay together,it delves into the family life and mindset of the two teenagers involved and why they think and act like they do.Its reallyacted and written and people who have enjoyed such films as murder in the first ad the krays may also enjoy this one.It has a dramatic and shocking conclusion which finishes the film well and keeps you on the edge of your seats.Although one of peters earlier works it wont fail to impress,but just incase there are little ones around it does deal with a sexual relationship between the two girls,to sum up i highly recomend this film ive watched it about five times and enjoyed it every time go on give it a go
Based on a true story, Heavenly Creatures marks a remarkable switch in tone for director Peter Jackson, after his previous films, Braindead and Bad Taste. It kind of bridges the gap between these ultra-low budget, gory films, and his classy LOTR trilogy.
It tells the story of two teenage girls in 1950s New Zealand Pauline (played by Melanie Lynskey, from Two and a Half Men, amongst other things), who is sulky and unhappy at school, and Juliet (the then-newcomer Kate Winslet), a lively English girl who arrives on the scene and causes a stir by doing what she wants rather than what shes told to do.
Naturally, the pair get on perfectly together, and begin to spend more and more time with each other at the expense of their families. They escape their problems by entering an imaginary world, in which Juliet is the Queen, and giant clay figurines go around killing people.
As their bond becomes closer and their friendship develops into something more, their parents begin to notice a change in their behaviour, and decide that action must be taken to split them apart. However, little do they know the dark thoughts that are going on in the teens heads
Its hard to describe Heavenly Creatures, because its a very strange film. The switch in tone is enormous, but very well handled by Peter Jackson. He lets us know from the opening scene that the film will have a dark side, since we see the girls running through trees, covered in blood. However, from here, we are sent into a seemingly light-hearted tale, full of energy and life, and with plenty of humorous parts. But the increasing focus on the girls imaginary world smoothly leads us into strange, almost disturbing territory, before progressing to an ending which is violent and difficult to watch.
Its a credit to Jackson, and all the actors involved, that they are able to pull this off convincingly. Melanie Lynskey is great as Pauline, the narrative voice of the film (the film is based on the characters real life diary entries). Like I said, shes very sulky to begin with, and you always get the sense that theres something a little odd about her, but she wins your support.
More impressive though is Kate Winslet. Shes a joy to watch in the first half of the film; full of charm and energy, and with that posh English accent of hers, shes also very funny. Just like in Braindead, theres something about 1950s New Zealand that really brings out the comedy side of characters, and although you wouldnt guess it from LOTR and King Kong, Jackson definitely has a playful, quirky and very funny side to him.
But just like Pauline, Juliet also becomes more and more disturbed and manipulative, and you gradually lose sympathy. Not in a bad way Im sure that was the film's intention.
Visually its quite interesting too, with its evocative period style, and some excellent prosthetic costumes for the scenes with the giant clay figures. Theres also a bit of imaginative CGI, although by todays standards it looks a bit ropey.
Jackson cant resist a bit of violence, but unlike Braindead, in this film its not at all done in a light-hearted way. Theres a scene of violence in this that is really powerfully executed, because it comes at the end of a very tense period, and then its shockingly brutal.
Overall, Im extremely surprised that Heavenly Creatures isnt more widely known. It was deservedly nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, but Id never heard of it until I happened to read about it whilst looking at Peter Jacksons résumé. It has fantastic performances and an intriguing storyline, and its very well directed.
I realise that I probably havent described the film particularly well, but its one that you have to watch for yourselves. I wouldnt be doing it justice to say much more about it, and I think the less you know, the more this film will surprise you.
By parts hilarious, intelligent, bizarre and disturbing, I was seriously impressed.
Heavenly Creatures is really difficult to find actually; your best and cheapest bet is ebay. Or they might show it on Film4 again sometime (that's how I watched it).
Im reviewing the film only, not the DVD.
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Melanie Lynskey Pauline Rieper
Kate Winslet Juliet Hulme
Sarah Peirse Honorah Rieper
Diana Kent Hilda Hulme
Elizabeth Moody Miss Waller
Classification: 18 (violence and sexual content)
Running time: 110 minutes
My rating: 5 stars
Heavenly Creatures (1994) Starring - Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent Director - Peter Jackson Genre - Biopic/Crime/Drama/Fantasy Certificate - 18 (violence/sexual content) Running time - 98 minutes Price - Video £8.99 (DVD not available in UK) Long before he delved in the world of Middle Earth, Peter Jackson proved to the world that he was more than just a goremeister, good with special effects but lacking in substance, with the release of "Heavenly Creatures" in 1994. This is a film that almost defies categorisation; it is so unusual, so outstanding, so complex and so powerful that it is almost revelatory. Based on the true story of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker that shocked New Zealand in 1954, Jackson succeeded in producing a film that takes the viewer deep into the human psyche, instilling a sense of fear, anger, tragedy and regret that stay with you long after the film has ended. Watching Heavenly Creatures is a highly memorable experience; I have not yet known anybody to watch this film without it having an impact on them. It certainly left a very lasting impression on me the first time I saw it, and indeed continues to do so with each subsequent viewing. The plot revolves around the lives of two New Zealand teenagers living in Christchurch in 1953/54. Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) is an inmate of a repressive girl's school where Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) is the new girl, having recently arrived in the country from England. The pair are instantly drawn to one another, the submissive and lonely Pauline attracted by Juliet's exuberant confidence, whilst Juliet finds an empathy with someone who, like her, has spent a lot of their childhood in hospital. Seeing Pauline's scar from her operation for osteomyelitis, Juliet exclaims "all the best people have had chest and bone disease! It's frightfully romantic!". In the early part of the film, the
friendship is simply out of a need for one another, as each fills a gap in the other's life that neither classmates nor parents seem to notice. The friendship is carefree and whimsical, and the girls take pleasure in creating a fantasyland for themselves, about which they write detailed stories and paint pictures that reveal an intelligence and creativity about both girls. As the bond between Pauline and Juliet thickens, their relationship becomes increasingly intense, as unbeknown even to themselves they begin to fall in love with each other. The fantasyland - which by now they have named The Fourth World - becomes their retreat from a dull and restrictive reality, and from lives that hold no attraction or love except from that of each other. This private world is filled with rich characters, colourful histories and grand castles, with romance and happiness, and above all can be controlled by the girls, something they cannot do in their external lives. The Fourth World holds such a strong influence that even when Juliet has to return to hospital and split the girls up for several months, they write to each other in character rather than as themselves. The girls' parents meanwhile do come to realise the extreme and obsessive nature of their relationship and eventually decide to act on it, leaving Pauline and Juliet terrified of being parted, and with what they feel is the only one option. Kate Winslet (in what I am convinced is her best ever performance) and Melanie Lynskey work together very well to create a believable relationship that conveys the lesbian undercurrents that are clearly present in the film, without using them for shock value. Yes, such a relationship was thought shocking in their society - even to the extent that Pauline is taken to a child psychologist by her worried mother - but this issue is not the in-your-face grandstand that some directors might have made it. The counter theme running through the film demonst
rating the unease with which the outside world view Pauline and Juliet, and the unstable psychology at the heart of their bond is actually the most important influence on their actions, and it is this that quite rightly overrides the element of homosexuality. From inside their relationship, the girls see themselves as normal in perspective to those around them, and they are completely dependent on each other; it is this dependence more than their love that drives them to want to stay together. It is quite a remarkable feat that two men could have written a script centred on the relationship between two adolescent girls and kept it quite so convincing. Fantasy plays a crucial role in Heavenly Creatures. The film is to a large extent carried on the imagery provided in the fantasy sequences, as it is these scenes that give us the real insights into the psychology of Pauline and Juliet. Fortunately for Jackson, he had a rich source material for creating The Fourth World in the shape of the diaries of the real Pauline Parker, whose detailed entries abundantly illustrate the world that she and Juliet inhabited. Working in collaboration with the WETA workshop (who were later to provide the special effects for the LOTR trilogy), Jackson produced a world of over-the-top scenery inhabited by life-size versions of the clay characters the girls model to accompany their stories. Given this material, it would have been terribly easy for the writers to end up with a film in which the two girls are seen as little more than being "stark raving mad" as Pauline so neatly puts it. It would also have been tempting to exploit the story by including sweeping moral platitudes about Pauline and Juliet's actions or putting it in a package clearly labelled "wholesale condemnation". However, Heavenly Creatures does none of these things, and this is perhaps where the brilliance of the film lies. The film focuses not on the end result of their ac
tions, not on their viciousness and possible psychopathy, but rather on the events that lead up to their crime, trying to provide an explanation for what happened and create an understanding of, a connection to and possibly even a sympathy for Pauline and Juliet. That is not to say Heavenly Creatures attempts to condone their actions, it simply wants to provide a reason - and it does so superbly. The end result is a film that is nothing short of a must see; Heavenly Creatures easily makes it into my top five films list and has done so ever since I first saw it several years ago. A subject that could have been a dour, depressing film filled with inevitability is instead exhilarating, compelling and deepens with every viewing. The casting of two young actresses both appearing in their first films was quite a gamble, but has paid off handsomely; the pairing of Winslet and Lynskey was inspired and the performances they deliver are very nearly flawless. This combined with a small but solid supporting cast, an atmospheric soundtrack by Peter Dasent and top notch directing by Peter Jackson produce a thoroughly memorable piece of viewing. My only complaint is that the (eventual) release of Heavenly Creatures onto DVD has so far only happened in the US - and from what I gather it is rather a disappointing package with no extras. Still, I am hopeful of there one day being a properly done special edition release that will make it across to this side of the Atlantic as well. A very highly recommended film. **Postscript** When Heavenly Creatures was released in New Zealand, it inevitably caused quite a stir and re-awakened interest in the story of Pauline and Juliet. A media frenzy broke out as journalists tried to locate either of the two women. While Pauline Parker has never been tracked down, Juliet Hulme was found to be living in Scotland and making a successful career as a crime novelist under the pen name of Anne Perry; a rather
ironically appropriate postscript to the story.
Kate Winslet gives a starkly memorable early performance in this disturbing and affecting story of obsession and desperation in 1950s New Zealand. The two girls are thrown together by chance to form what their doctors term an unnatural attachment to each other. The viewer is let inside their world through the diaries Paulin left documenting their descent into murder. Their days are spent creating more and more elaborate facets to their imaginary word, sinking deeper and deeper away from reality. The 1950s were unforgiving towards psychological and mental illness, and this was how both the fantasy world they created and the blossoming love between them was considered by the authorites, particularly their parents. The girls' forbidden love affair could term it a tragic romance, and there is an element of a classic Greek tragedy about the events that unfold. The girls are told that Julia is to travel to South Africa 'for the good of her health' a term that has been quoted to her in the past. This emigration is designed to help her recover from a recurring bout of TB, but the girls are determined not to allow it, and set upon a course of action that will seal their fates. This is based on a true story told by Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) in her diary, and was found after the murders to be used as evidence in the case against them. I challenge any one of you not to be deeply affected by this tragic tale, I shed more than one tear.
'Heavenly creatures' is the sort of film you never forget. It isn't easy watching, but it is impressive. It is based on a true story, and set in New Zealand in the 1950s. The story: Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) and Juliet Hulme (Kate Winnslet) are two teensage girls who meet at school. Pauline is shy, awkward and a misfit, which Juliet is brash, confident and outspoken. At first their friendship seems unlikely, but both are eccentric and don't fit in. Their nonconformity draws them together. The two invent a fantasy reality, which they explore through stories and clay figures. While Juliet is in hospital, they develop their shared world via letters. The bond between the two friends is very strong, and not without a romantic element. However, Pauline's parents do not like the attachment their daughter has formed and try to break it. I found this painfully cruel - it is evident that Pauline has always been isolated, and rather than rejoicing in her finally having found a friend, her parents seem jealous, posessive and intolerant. They fear that their daughter might be gay and want to 'cure her' - obviously an attitude very much of the times. When seperation seems inevitable, Pauline and Juliet embark on a terrible course of action - a last desperate bid to remain together, which reuslts in murder. This part of the film is terrifying. Murder in films is normally so synthetic, so distant that you just shrug it off, but in "Heavenly creatures' it is shocking - not for the gore, but because you really care about the characters. The film contains animation alongside actual people, which at the time (1994) was pretty ground breaking. Watching it now of course the effects don't look quite so stunning, but it is very imaginative. The clay figures come to life and you get to see a little bit of the fantasy world that the two girls inhabit - it is a powerful thing to show. The director
, Peter Jacskon, had previously had his mitts in some very dubious gory films, and has since given us "The Lord of the rings". if youa re interested in fiollowing directors, then its worth having a look at just for that. The acting is very good, and Kate Winslet fetishists will no doubt enjoy it. However, must repeat that it isn't easy viewing and it is quite disturbing.
Heavenly Creatures is the true story of two teenage girls who brutally murdered one of their mothers in 1952. The film is set in New Zealand and focuses on the events leading up to the murder. Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) is a quiet New Zealand teenager. She is a dreamer and also an outsider. One day a new girl comes to her school. She is an outspoken British girl who goes by the name of Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet). Juliet is also a bit of an outsider and soon becomes close friends with Pauline because they share the same interests (they both have a crush on tenor Mario Lanza , they both like Orson Wells films) and both love to make up fantasy worlds. Pauline is fascinated by Juliet's loud and frank manner and is impressed when she corrects their French teacher. Juliet also has a great deal of respect for Pauline and is intrigued by the scar she has on her knee. The girls grow closer and closer together, they run around town in giggles and become inseparable. However Juliet contracts TB and has to be separated from Pauline. This doesn't stop them. They start to write extremely long letters to each other and construct an entire fantasy world where they can escape. The write elaborate stories about fictional characters and by the time Juliet is out of hospital and back with Pauline they even act out scenarios. Their parents start to worry about the two girls. They feel that their friendship is unhealthy and the fact that they could by lesbians is also hinted at. The parents decide that the girls should be separated. Juliet and Pauline couldn't bear the thought of this and through this fear they are drove to murder, something that will separate them for the rest of their lives. It would have been easy to make a film about the murder making Juliet and Pauline seem like coldblooded lunatics who will let nothing get in their way. This film, fortunately doesn't go down that route but takes the view that Juliet and Pauline are hum
an beings who seem like normal kids who were driven to murder. They are not the villains f this film. If anyone is it's the parents who are the bad guys because they want to separate the two girls who we have gotten to know over the course of the film. This film was a surprised coming from the director of such films as the low budget gore fest Bad Taste, the extremely bad taste Meet the Febbles and the blood soaked Braindead. The film at first looks like Jacksons previous work as we see Juliet and Pauline running towards the camera soaked in blood and saying something happened to their mother. Then for the most of the rest of the film we get a sensitive and insightful look into the two girls friendship. To make this film work who have to get to know and like the girls. The film allows this by giving up most of the screen time to the relationship. We get a Pauline's diary entries read out (the entries are the ones written by the real Pauline) we also get to see their fantasy world and therefore get to know more about them. The relationship portrayed is one of the strongest and most memorable I have ever seen in a film. One of the things that makes this film so strong is the fact that the audience is aware of what is being lead up to, the murder of Pauline's mother. We also get a hint of the brutality from the opening scenes. Knowing this throughout the film makes the audience wonder how these two girls could do such a thing and we are also waiting to see what sets them off and when they are going to do it. A strong point of the film has to be the performances. The casting of Juliet and Pauline is crucial to the whole film as they are the focus of it. Jackson made the ideal choice in Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. Winslet captures the confidence of Juliet but also shows her more venerable side. Lynskey shows Pauline as being a strong character trapped inside a quiet exterior and changes throughout the film as the film develops
. Another performance that can't be ignored is Sarah Peirse as Pauline's mother. Although she is so against the friendship she is a poignant character because we know what is going to happen to her and she doesn't deserve it. Jackson has succeeded in creating a film that handles the case of Pauline and Juliet in a way that captivates the audience, is based on fact and also shows the power that friendship has. This is a balanced, not biased view and I can't imagine this film would have worked if done any other way. Although this is a stunning film some may find it a bit slow and those hoping for a gore fest or slasher flick will surely be disappointed. I would recommend this film though because it is a stunning piece of cinema.
Facing a boring Saturday night in I rooted around my videos and came across Heavenly Creatures, taped from ages ago whilst it was on BBC2, I sat down and watched it and I'm glad I did. This movie is dark and disturbing, thanks not only because it is a true-life story but to the brilliant acting that is in the film. Heavenly Creatures tells the tale of two girls living in New Zealand in the 1940s. Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) is a bit of a loner in school with no close friends until a high spirited, English girl, Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) comes to her school. It does not take long for them to form a very close bond between each other. Soon they create a world of fantasy, which only they share. As Juliet becomes ill and Pauline is restricted from seeing her their friendship intensifies, much to the disturbance of the daughter's parents who believe that the girls relationship is turning into something more than just friendship. The girls grow closer and decide to go to Hollywood to get away from their families, which leads to the climatic ending and results in them being separated forever, despite their best efforts. The film is very tastefully done. The crime committed by the two girls was a very serious one but it actually gets very little screen time, but that is not to say you wont remember it, because you will, its one of the most disturbing things you will see in a film, sheer desperation to keep a friendship together. There is definite sexual tension in the film but it is not between the two girls but the girls and their fantasies. You are left with many questions at the end of the film. Were the girls mad? Why did they do it? And why did they become so very close? The girls are treated as humans who were misunderstood by everyone around them which led them to commit their final, bloody act. The film is a real joy to watch though. As well as tragedy humour also plays a part in the fil
m. The cinematography is superb in re-creating the girls fantasy-style world which they visit once but never have a real chance to be part of. There is a definite build up after the first 30 minutes of the film, the tension between the girls and their families starts to creep in and you end up getting drawn into the girls lives and what they think they must to carry on their friendship. All the acting in the film is excellent, as well as the two girls a special mention has to go to Sarah Peirse who plays Pauline’s mother. She has a hard role to play, being concerned with her daughter, becoming angry, despairing and hoping throughout their ordeal. There is a lot of effort put into the role and it shows through with marvelous results. There are minimal problems with this film. The plot may be a bit too slow paced for some but to get it over with quickly is missing the point of what the two girls experience throughout their tragic lives, pure friendship of the highest degree, sharing each others thoughts and dreams, this is not something you can rush. This isn’t a film to watch with a whole load of mates but one that demands attention and by doing so you are highly rewarded. HEAVENLY CREATURES IS Dark Disturbing True HEAVENLY CREATURES IS NOT A film your going to forget Fast paced A film with a happy ending
This is a deeply disturbing true story set in Christchurch, New Zealand, 1953/4 telling of the friendship between school friends Pauline Yvonne Parker (Melanie Lynskey) and Juliet Marion Hulme (Kate Winslet). Based on the diary entries of Pauline, the film tells of the teenage girls' friendship. As this frienship becomes deeper and deeper the girls live out their own imaginary world and become dependent on one another and can't bare to be separated. When Juliet is to be sent to South Africa to help her chest problems, Pauline's mother refuses to let her go which leads to drastic action on both girls parts. Naturally this ends in disaster, resulting in the two girls being separated forever. Both lead actresses are superb in their roles portraying the often troubled years of being a teenage. With captions at the end telling of the outcome of the two girls it is a very thought provoking film - should we feel sympathy for Pauline and Yvonne or feel hatred towards them for their sins? (For the sake of those who haven't seen the film I won't say what they did - if you wish to know send me a comment!) I would recommend this film to anyone who like a moving drama - very emotional in parts and highly believable especailly because the events really did happen.
A starkly original film-going experience based on a true-life story, this film from New Zealand director Peter Jackson (Braindead, The Frighteners) is a stirring drama that offers up the unexpected. The story concerns two girls, outcasts who become best friends, whose bizarre fantasy life becomes more intense as their bond becomes increasingly more obsessive. When the mother of one of the girls tries to intervene and split the girls apart, they kill her and stand trial for murder in what is still to this day a celebrated and controversial case. Kate Winslet (Titanic) and Melanie Lynskey create two sympathetic and yet uncomfortably eerie characters, in riveting portrayals. Featuring some startling and unique moments of visual brilliance as well as a disturbing love story between the two girls, Heavenly Creatures is at once both unsettling and beautiful to behold. --Robert Lane