Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Kate Winslet's feature debut in Peter Jackson's hallucinatory world

7.4

Movie

New-Zealand
English
Drama, Fantasy
1994
PETER JACKSON
Barry Thomson, Ben Fransham, Clive Merrison
109 min

What it's about

Wealthy and precocious teenager Juliet transfers from England to New Zealand with her family, and soon befriends the quiet, brooding Pauline through their shared love of fantasy and literature. When their parents begin to suspect that their increasingly intense and obsessive bond is becoming unhealthy, the girls hatch a dark plan for those who threaten to keep them apart.

The take

Peter Jackson made the transition from splattery gross-out movies like Braindead to more respectable fare with Heavenly Creatures, the true story of an intense relationship between two teenage girls that culminates in the murder of one of their mothers.

As the girls’ friendship becomes unhealthier, they invent a secret world for themselves, amusingly including a heart-throb Orson Welles. This gives Jackson the opportunity to indulge in his love of fantasy, creating some dazzling hallucinatory sequences.

The fantasy element contrasts beautifully with the humdrum setting of ‘50s New Zealand, and the final tragedy is heart-breaking. The film also provided an auspicious debut for Kate Winslet, who is terrific as one of the misguided fantasists.

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