They say “Hell is a teenage girl,” and Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures is here to remind you of that.
Peter Jackson’s 1994 film Heavenly Creatures is one of the most disturbing and interesting films I have ever seen, especially in the context of women on screen.
The tale of two teenage friends and their imaginative lives complicated by the real world they live in, creates the cinematic experience that is one to discuss over drinks to help ease into the bizarre.
Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) and Juliet (Kate Winslet) bond over shared experiences of being sick children and parents who misunderstand them almost immediately when Juliet moves to school, but when their friendship reaches its all time high and the obsession with one another becomes too real, the movie takes a fantastic, dark turn. They fall in love with one another, as new friends often do. They feed off of one another and begin to develop individual confidences that pair together like a cocktail list tailored for the refined drinker. their friendship feels familiar in many ways, and of course, mimics the standard for female friendship on screen. However, their is a unique quality within their friendship and a bond that is formed that never feels like an old trope. There is a strength in their affection and trust that feels incapable of being weathered. It’s a point to be made when analyzing their positions on why they end up conceiving the plan that they do. Slipping in between reality and fantasy through a colorful, vibrant world conceived by Peter Jackson’s love and loyalty to New Zealand, we’re able to connect with the disconnect of these girls and really grasp the grave dangers for the people around them as they swirl in their madness.
Captivating performances from Lynskey and Winslet, who were merely 15-16 years old and making their screen debuts. Revisiting this film after years of admiring their extensive careers and works, it’s hard to ignore the star quality each of the actors possess. I’m still so fascinated by their innate chemistry, and the cohesiveness of the film’s narrative against their acting. It’s a personal favorite of mine, and something I quote often. I just really love this film, especially the blur of reality and fantasy done with such fluidity. The dialogue is witty and ridiculous, and the stylistic choices Peter Jackson makes stabilizes this film into its position as a campy, cult film.
Fun fact: This film is based strongly off of the true story of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme who acted out their disillusioned plans to murder anyone who stood in the way of their happiness and love for one another. Please please please give this film a chance and take a ride into the world of “Charles and Debora.”