Heavenly Creatures review by The Grim Ringler

Heavenly Creatures

Once upon a time a man named Peter Jackson was not a god, he was a mere filmmaker that made nifty little shockers that hardly anyone saw. This was well before he began adapting the books about rings and Orcs and Hobbits and such, way back when he was but a lowly Kiwi and was trying to find his place in the movie world. But after two movies all anyone thought of him was he was, well, odd. That was until he made the brilliant Heavenly Creatures, his haunting, tragic adaptation of the life of two young women, friends that murdered the mother of one of them so they could be together forever. This was the movie that showed that Jackson was much more than another gore-meister and was indeed on the verge of becoming a great director.

Heavenly Creatures is the story of two lonely girls (Pauline and Juliet)that meet at school when one (Kate Winslet, in her film debut) enrolls in an all-girls school. The girls become fast friends, quickly finding common bonds in their sickliness as children, and in their boundless imaginations, and they are happy for once in their lives. Knowing they are different and feeling they are not meant for the world of simple people about them they begin creating an imaginary kingdom peopled with all the heroes and movie stars they idolize, feeling more and more that this fantasy world is more real than their own. Their friendship begins to become more though as the girls get more and more attached to one another, eventually seeming to fall in love with one another, thus raising the suspicions and fears of their parents. And all around them their world is crumbling as one of the girl’s finds that her mother has been having an affair and her father is being forced out of his professorial position and will have to move, and it only gets worse when it’s revealed that she is to leave New Zealand with her father – being sent to a warmer climate for her health you see. The girls see this all through colored eyes though and decide that if they can off the overly-protective mother of Pauline they can sneak off to live together in another country. Alas, things are not that simple.

This is the first time the film has arrived on video in the lengthened director’s version and the new footage really makes a difference to me, filling things out a bit more and making the film feel more real. But as great as the direction of Jackson is on this, and it is, the movie is made with the performances of Winslet and Melanie Lynskey as the tortured girls, for without their superb performances the entire movie falls apart. The young women really sell their connection and make it breaks your heart that they will be separated at the end, even if it is for the best. And their performances are handled in such a way that while they are in love with one another, it isn’t about sex between them but about being with the one person in the world that understands you, and loving them for that, because they know and accept you as you are. But I really do hand it to Jackson for making sure that we believe everything, and making sure that the fantasy world of the girls doesn’t overpower the reality of the story or of the girls’ mutual obsessions.

A superb film in every sense, it’s my hope that now that it’s on DVD and is pretty cheap to buy, that the fans that fell in love with Lord of the Rings will go back and give Jackson’s earlier films a look, this one in particular. I urge you to see this film. …c…

8 out of 10 Jackasses

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