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Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, more...
Director: Peter Jackson, Peter Jackson
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Rating:
Studio: Miramax
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Gay & Lesbian, Coming of Age , Classic Crime, Crime, Classic Crime, Features, Australia & New Zealand
Running Time: 109 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Synopsis
After winning a cult following for several offbeat and darkly witty gore films, New Zealand director Peter Jackson abruptly shifted gears with this stylish, compelling, and ultimately disturbing tale of two teenage girls whose friendship begins to fuel an ultimately fatal obsession. Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) is a student in New Zealand who doesn't much care for her family or her classmates; she's a bit overweight and not especially gracious, but she quickly makes friends with Juliet (Kate Winslet), a pretty girl whose wealthy parents have relocated from England. Pauline and Juliet find they share the same tastes in art, literature, and music (especially the vocal stylings of Mario Lanza), and together they begin to construct an elaborate fantasy world named Borovnia, which exists first in stories and then in models made of clay. The more Pauline and Juliet dream of Borovnia, the more the two find themselves retreating into this fantastical world of art, adventure, and Gothic romance as they slowly drift away from reality. The girls' parents decide that perhaps they're spending too much time together, and try to bring them back into the real world, but this only feeds their continued obsession with Borovnia (and each other) and leads to a desperate and violent bid for freedom. Featuring excellent performances (especially by Kate Winslet) and imaginative production design and special effects, Heavenly Creatures skillfully allows the audience to see Pauline and Juliet both from their own fantastic perspective and how they seem to the rest of the world. Remarkably enough, Heavenly Creatures is based on a true story; in real life, Juliet grew up to become mystery novelist Anne Perry. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
Sister My Sister
Another shocking tale based on true, similar case

Picnic at Hanging Rock
Another very eerie schoolgirl mystery from Down Under

Fun
American version of schoolgirl dementia tale; winner of Sundance award


GreenCine Member Reviews

Disturbing, but so good... by rmarkd February 16, 2004 - 11:16 PM PST
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5 out of 7 members found this review helpful
You knew what was going to happen. They show it in the beginning. You can see the relationship of the two girls going a bit far. Yet you still don't believe it when it does happen.

The climactic scene was jaw dropping.

Two girls, Pauline and Juliet, form a bond and escape to a mutually created fantasy world called Borovnia filled with life sized clay figurines that the two created. These are intelligent girls, and the term 'soulmates' isn't more appropriate than it is with them.

But their friendship is disturbing to their parents and soon the parents are wondering if there's a sexual relationship going on. Maybe the two should be separated...

(spoilers -- if you can call them that -- follow)
I don't know if I'm supposed to feel remorse for these two girls, but I do. This is based on a true story and the girls were jailed for killing Pauline's mom and later released but never allowed to see each other again. This was a strong friendship, maybe love, and to tear apart two friends so close in their teenage years was bound to have a traumatic experience. And, without hindsight and life experience, it can "make sense" to kill the person they believed was an obstacle to their being together. These were kids, with kid emotions, that made a very adult mistake. But their friendship was real and the type that doesn't come around often. It's a shame that they were driven apart in the first place. None of this would have happened if they were together, and that's all they wanted.

This is a movie that sticks in my mind and gets better (and more sad) the more I think about it. Most movies are forgotten after a few days, some stick around for weeks. I have a feeling this movie will still be in my mind years later.

-Mark

wonderful! by maritoni January 23, 2004 - 7:50 PM PST
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2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Beautifully filmed with wonderful performances by both Lynskey and Winslet. The film evokes a fantastical playful tone with such subtle darkness that it's easy to empathize with the protagonists albeit with a that harrowing feeling that something's going to happen. A winner in my book!

A real rine by larbeck January 25, 2003 - 1:39 PM PST
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5 out of 8 members found this review helpful
A Peter Jackson film that is about as far away from "The Lord of the Rings" as you can get. Yet....well, I don't want to be giving it away. Kate Winslet, of course, is sooo good with her unreal enthusiasum and Melanie Lynskey is super as a teenagers coming out in a time and place of pure repression (actually, just around the corner from where I live, spiritually). They find refuge in world of their own making.

A must rent!




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.42)
796 Votes
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