A disturbing, boldly conceived story of two teenaged New Zealand girls whose obsessive friendship leads to murder, HEAVENLY CREATURES is equal parts psychodrama and dark fairy tale. Its flamboyant style evokes the fantasy world in which the girls lose themselves, and its breathless,
childishly hyperbolic voice-over narration perfectly captures the dangerous passions of insular youth.
Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) is plump, smart, plain, and painfully insecure; Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) is a dream walking, sleekly blonde and sophisticated beyond her years. To everyone's surprise, the two girls become friends, united by their feverish imaginations. Together, Juliet and
Pauline spin a candy-colored imaginary universe of tremendous depth and complexity, pieced together from movies, novels, fairy tales, and their own lurid and strangely naive imaginings. When their parents sense that the relationship is unnaturally close, they attempt to separate the girls, with
results that prove deadly.
Based on an actual murder committed in 1954, HEAVENLY CREATURES is the story of a folie a deux, a relationship born in innocuous mutual interests (movies, celebrities, popular music) that blossoms into a lethally insular us-against-them (adults, society, the world) alliance. But HEAVENLY
CREATURES breaks the pattern of films as diverse as Alfred Hitchcock's ROPE, Arthur Penn's BONNIE AND CLYDE, and even Tom Kalin's SWOON, by taking rebellious, hormonally raging boys out of the equation. Pauline and Juliet are quintessential adolescent girls; their longings are precise, if wildly
fanciful--not inchoate yearnings to be free and seek excitement. Their fantasies are rooted less in restlessness and the desire to make a mark on the world, than the need to find all-enveloping romance and a place to hide.
HEAVENLY CREATURES excited extensive press coverage when it was revealed that in real life, Juliet Hulme had changed her name to Anne Perry and made a successful career as a mystery writer. Perry refused to see the film, but insisted that it distorted her relationship with Pauline, and was
particularly disturbed that the filmmakers strongly suggested a lesbian relationship between the girls.
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: R
- Review: A disturbing, boldly conceived story of two teenaged New Zealand girls whose obsessive friendship leads to murder, HEAVENLY CREATURES is equal parts psychodrama and dark fairy tale. Its flamboyant style evokes the fantasy world in which the girls lose them… (more)