Heavenly Creatures (1994)

HeavenlyCreaturesPosterWhile I never thought the director of Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles would go on to direct a movie like Heavenly Creatures, I have no trouble seeing how the director of Heavenly Creatures went on to direct the Lord of the Rings trilogy. No, Heavenly Creatures isn’t a fantasy, in fact it is based on true events. The main characters, however, do absolutely live in a world of fantasy, and it’s Peter Jackson’s portrayal of this world that make up the best bits of this movie.

Kate Winslet plays Juliet Hulme, a proper English girl who’s just moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, where her father is taking up a new job. Juliet is excited to finally occupy the same home as her parents, as the last few years have kept her in different spots “for the good of her health.” These health issues keep her from gym class, among other things, and this is how she



becomes good friends with Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey), whose pediatric leg surgery keeps her from the same activities.

To say the two hit it off famously is an understatement. It’s not long before the two become absolutely inseparable, creating a fantasy world made of clay, featuring murderous noble children and raunchy love affairs. When Juliet gets sick again, she is sent to the sanitarium, her parents leave her again, and she and Pauline are separated. To keep correspondence, they write to each-other as their fictitious character creations, Charles & Deborah. When Juliet is finally released, the girls become closer than ever, and both sets of parents express more than a little concern. Juliet’s father goes so far as to claim that Pauline has an “unnatural” attachment to his daughter and requests

Clay people.

Clay people.

Pauline’s mother, Honora, take her to a “doctor” to clear up the unthinkable “condition” of homosexuality.

Meanwhile, Juliet’s parents are splitsville, and they want to send her to live in South Africa with her Aunt, reaffirming all her fears that her parents would leave her again, this time also separating her from her bosom buddy. The girls plead with each family to let Pauline go to South Africa with Juliet, but of course they’ll hear nothing of it – they compromise, though, by letting the girls spend Juliet’s last few weeks in Christchurch together. It’s during this time the girls hatch an unthinkable plot to eliminate certain “obstacles” to their happiness.

I’m not going to tag this post “batshit” even though Pauline and Juliet seem to be

Really. Fucking. Unhappy.

Really. Fucking. Unhappy.

headed in that direction, if they’re not firmly planted on batshit soil already. The scenes in which they’re reveling in the clay world they created are frantic and hysterical, matching, it seems, the climate in their heads at the time they dreamt up their terrible plot. The movie is told with narration from Pauline Parker’s real diary, and I think it’s fair to say that, while Peter Jackson is obviously taking certain liberties, he does a good job of illustrating the imaginary world these two girls lived in. I’d be remiss not to mention Melanie Lynskey’s totally awesome performance in this film. Boy does she make unhappy look really fucking unhappy. This is the perfect accompaniment to Celia if you’re interested in a girls-gone-bad-down-under theme!


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