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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking!
'Heavenly Creatures' is the true story of two school girls in Christchurch, New Zealand who murder one of their mothers when the two families plan to separate them.
Juliet Hulme and Pauline Rieper (later revealed in the trial to be Pauline Parker, as her parents never married) quickly become best friends when Juliet's family moves to Christchurch in 1952...
Published on March 14, 2000 by Emme Wellington

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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, horrible DVD!
Please, save yourself some aggravation and wait for Miramax to release an official Region One DVD! Peter Jackson's luscious cinematography, originally screened in 2.35:1, when cropped to 1.33:1 is enough to make you cry. Audio is poor two-channel stereo, and there are no extra features. I purchased this Canadian import over a year ago because I love the film, but I've...
Published on June 24, 2002 by M. Jackson


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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking!, March 14, 2000
'Heavenly Creatures' is the true story of two school girls in Christchurch, New Zealand who murder one of their mothers when the two families plan to separate them.
Juliet Hulme and Pauline Rieper (later revealed in the trial to be Pauline Parker, as her parents never married) quickly become best friends when Juliet's family moves to Christchurch in 1952. Pauline's family is working class; Juliet is a high-class girl. They're both lonely and creative. Their friendship becomes more obsessive and surreal every day, as they mix reality and fantasy: They create a kingdom called Borovnia, where bloodspill is common and Mario Lanza and Orson Welles make appearances. It is to this world they retreat when they wish to forget the upsets and pains of real life. Juliet and Pauline's parents soon enough become the enemies of the girls, when they plan to separate the girls. Juliet and Pauline will do anything to stay together, Pauline cooks up the idea of getting her own mother out of the way, and you can guess where it goes from there (I won't give away any more of the plot).
The acting in this film is first-rate and marvelous. Kate Winslet, as always, is elegant and gorgeous. Melanie Lynskey is wonderful as Pauline; her body language and mannerisms add much to the story. In the space of only one and a half hours, you feel as if you know Juliet and Pauline as well as they know each other.
(It should be noted that Juliet is now an author, working under the name of Anne Perry. Pauline is now running a children's riding school in England and goes by the name of Hilary Nathan. There are many informative sites on the internet about both the film and the real life events. If you are interested in seeing them, drop me an email at emme_kiss@yahoo.com and I'll gladly send you the URLs.)
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145 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Jackson's captivating murder story with no villains, December 11, 2003
By 
This review is from: Heavenly Creatures (DVD)
For those who wondered how the director of "Bad Taste" and "Brain Dead" got to direct "The Lord of the Rings," this 1994 film from director Peter Jackson supplies the answer. In 1954 two teenage girls brutally murdered one of the their mothers in what must be the most sensational murder in New Zealand history. "Heavenly Creatures" tells the strange story of these two girls and their unique relationship. If you think this is just a reality based splatter flick, then you are going to be much more than surprised and impressed by what Jackson has accomplished.
Pauline Rieper (Melanie Lynskey) is a simple and rather dull young girl who is totally dazzled when Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) enters her life. Juliet is impressed as well, because Pauline has a scar on her leg from an operation. Juliet declares that: "All the best people have had chest and bone disease! It's all frightfully romantic!" Eventually both the romance and the frightfullness of it all reaches a tragic conclusion. In their all consuming friendship Juliet and Pauline create a "Fourth World," better than heaven (because it has no Christians), inhabited by the clay figures they have fashioned to represents their friends and where the music of Mario Lanza, the greatest tenor on earth, is always in the air.
Jackson brings this fantasy world alive, which allows him to explore the pivotal theme of juxtaposition throughout the film. This comes into play most notably at the beginning and ending of "Heavenly Clouds." Jackson begins with a 1950s newsreel about Christchurch, New Zealand, which is interrupted by the appearance of the two screaming and bloodied girls, thereby symbolizing the way this sensational case shocked the nation. Even more effective is the film's conclusion, where the murder is inter-cut with what the girls think will happen if they do not find this way of saving themselves.
With any film based on historical events there are omissions, alterations, substitutions, and the like, and "Heavenly Creatures" is no different. On the plus side of the ledger Jackson attempted an almost morbid verisimilitude. Almost all of the locations used for filming were the real locations where events occurred, including the tea shop where Honora Parker ate her last meal, which was torn down a few days after the shooting ended. However, the cast and crew found the actual murder scene uncomfortable and moved further down the path. All of the journal voice-overs come directly from Pauline's diary, as are the characters in the girls' make-believe world. However, since the two filled up fifteen notebooks and hundreds of letters devoted to their fantasies, the movie actually underplays these elements.
However, having familiarized myself somewhat with the actual "facts" of the case, and the recollections of the woman one of the girls grew up to be, the key point of dispute is the motive. But if Jackson is guilty of becoming fixated on the idea that these two young girl committed a murder because they could not bear to be separated and have their fantasy world unravel, then he can be hardly faulted for finding that a fascinating interpretation of the evidence (the girls never testified or were examined in court, but Pauline's diary was seen as providing all the answers). More importantly, Jackson does not seem guilty of taking liberties, merely with offering a valid interpretation of the evidence. For example, the murder sequence greatly reduces the number of blows, but the effect is still horrific, so it seems trivial to complain about any inaccuracy.
From an artistic standpoint his interpretation is more than justified, especially at the end. In addition to the information we receive between the final scene and the closing credits that tells what happened to Pauline and Juliet, Marzio Lanza sings "You'll Never Walk Alone," which is as perfect a choice of a song to play at the end of a film as you will ever hear, forcefully underscoring the film's thesis. Jackson says this is "a murder story about love, a murder story with no villains," and it is hard to argue with this idea after watching his film.
"Heavenly Creatures" received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Jackson and Frances Walsh. The film won every award for which it was nominated in the New Zealand Film and TV Awards, including Best Actress for Lynskey and Best Foreign Performer for Winslet (both of whom were perfectly suited for those roles), and earned film festival awards in Venice and Toronto. This is a striking and unforgettable film, both creative and thoughtful. Those who are drawn to it because it was directed by Peter Jackson might be shocked by the subject matter, but they will not be disappointed with the results.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Come with me...", April 18, 2003
This review is from: Heavenly Creatures (DVD)
"How can these heavenly creatures be real?" asks Pauline in one scene of "Heavenly Creatures," the exquisite and horrifying docudrama of a real-life murder in New Zealand. Peter Jackson uses spectacular special effect, great actors, and outstanding direction to show us how these heavenly creatures became monsters.

In 1952, Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) is a loner at her proper New Zealand school, until the day Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) arrives -- an intelligent, witty, daring girl who appeals to Pauline. They share a love of the arts, writing, sculpting, drawing, fantasy, and tenor Mario Lanza. Soon the two of them are nearly inseparable, spinning their fantastical tales of castles, knights, unicorns and beautiful ladies. (The foremost ladies, Deborah and Gina, are modelled on themselves) Even Juliet's four month stint in the hospital doesn't separate the girls through their letters and shared fantasies. But soon Juliet's father (Clive Merrison) becomes concerned that their close friendship is "unhealthy." It is, but not just in the way he thinks.

The two girls' emotional attachment has turned incredibly intense, so that they barely think of anyone but each other, and the fantasy stories begin to seep into reality for them . Pauline drops out of school and stops talking to her parents; Juliet learns that her mother is sleeping with one of her clients, and that her parents are divorcing. Now she's being sent to South Africa, and there is no telling when she will see Pauline again. Unless they do something about their parents so that they can stay together... such as murder.

Peter Jackson kicks off "Heavenly Creatures" by emphasizing what a beautiful, in most ways peaceful country (via a cheesy 1950s documentary). But he rapidly shows that beauty is not everything -- the complex and beautiful fantasy land of Borovnia has a sort of amorality in its stories, that reflects the girls' own minds. Their mothers are problematic -- one is selfish, the other is controlling -- but the girls begin to see them as mere obstacles to be dealt with. Jackson doesn't just show what the two did, but showed why they did it. But even then, he doesn't sugarcoat anything.

Melanie Lynskey is excellent as Pauline; she has something of the look of both a child and a woman, switching between smiles and sullenness, depending on who she's speaking to. And the luminous Kate Winslet plays the somewhat devil-may-care Juliet, whose vivacity and charm overrule any of Pauline's reservations. "It's everyone else who's bonkers!" she says gleefully when Pauline casts doubt on her own sanity. The supporting actors are also good, especially Clive Merrison and Honora Peirse as Juliet's dad and Pauline's mom, who are both concerned about their children.

The dialogue is outstanding, both chilling and simple ("Our main idea for the day was to murder Mother"; "we decided to use a rock in a stocking, rather than a sandbag..."). And Richard Taylor's handling of the CGI and prosthetics is oustanding. One particularly vivid scene has a hillside transforming into an exquisite garden. And nobody except Peter Jackson could have pulled off the idea of including living clay figurines or four-foot-wide butterflies, but somehow it not only works, but adds to the surreality of the story. Jackson's unique camerawork is here as well; if you enjoy his swooping shots and close-ups, then this will be a treat to watch.

The DVD is pretty bare-bones, unfortunately, without a "making of" or director's commentary -- or much of a look at the real-life events of this film. There are some trailers for other movies, and the trailer for this one as well. (Which is not so amazing because it wobbles a little as it played)

While Juliet went on to become bestselling murder mystery writer Anne Perry, no one is entirely certain what happened to Pauline. This movie is frighteningly vivid, beautifully made, and exquisitely directed, destined to be a modern classic.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy Movie, April 24, 2006
By 
DRob (Arlington, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Heavenly Creatures (DVD)
I'll have to admit that my reason for wanting to see Heavenly Creatures was prurient. Anne Perry is one of my favorite mystery writers, and I was interested to see the movie Peter Jackson made about the murder she and her best friend committed as teen-aged girls.

Melanie Lynskey plays the part of Pauline Yvonne Parker, who grows up in a poor family. Her parents were never actually married, and they keep boarders in their home. Lynskey portrays Pauline as a very sullen teen-ager, and deserves much more credit for her portrayal than she has received. Very rarely do you see her exhibit true happiness in this film, and the few times she does, it is always when she is with her friend, whom she sees as the only way she has of excaping her horrible life.

Kate Winslet plays the part of Juliet Hulme, the privileged daughter of wealthy parents. To Pauline, it appears as though Juliet has the perfect life, but in fact, Julliet has a checkered past. Due to constant lung problems, her parents sent her away to live in the Bahamas for five years, leaving her in constant fear of abandonment. She meets Pauline on her first day of school after she and her family move to christchurch, New Zealand, and the two of them strike up a friendship.

Although the movie depicts a lesbian relationship between the two of them, Anne Perry has staunchly denied that they were anything but friends. Indeed, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Perry is telling the truth as teen-aged girls frequently develop "crushes" on each other and have extremely intense personal friendships without any sexual involvement.

What is obvious, though is that both girls were highly imaginative, and they both fulfilled a deep need in each other. Pauline needed to feel as though she were a part of Juliet's wealthy family, and Juliet needed to have someone she could count on not to leave her. Indeed, in one scene of the movie, Juliet has experienced a recurrence of tuberculosis and her parents put her in a convalescent home before leaving to spend several months in England. Pauline and her mother are the only people to visit Juliet during that terrible time.

Juliet's world comes crashing down when she learns that her parents are getting a divorce. Her father is going back to England and she is being sent to stay with an aunt in South Africa. Once again, she will be abandoned by her parents and, even worse, she will be separated from Pauline. Pauline convinces her that if they kill Pauline's mother, the two of them will be able to stay together.

It is sad watching the scene of Pauline's mother preparing to go out for a day's outing with her daughter and Juliet. It must have been one of the happiest days in the woman's life-- her daughter was taking her to tea and then to a park, and then her daughter and her daughter's friend savagely murder her. It is the opening scene of the movie, and the closing scene of the movie.

Peter Jackson does a stellar job of weaving the girls' fantasy world into the real life elements of the story. Although he has taken some liberties with the story, that can be excused as neither of the women involved participated in any way in the making of the film. I can't say that I really enjoyed the movie so much as I thought it was an interesting portrayal of a horrible crime. However, the movie is a superb acting vehicle for a very young Kate Winslet and for Melanie Lynskey, both of whom do a terrific job of portraying their characters. The movie also foreshadows Jackson's genius and his attention to detail that we see later in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

While I wouldn't want to watch the movie again, I am glad that I at least saw it. I've read about the crime and tried to picture the events in my head. Jackson did a terrific job of translating things that I've only read about into reality.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling And Suspenseful True-Story Classic, July 3, 2004
By 
Busy Body (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Heavenly Creatures (DVD)
It still amazes me how Peter Jackson went on to direct three of the greatest epics in the form of "The Lord Of The Rings" that grossed a combined total of $3 billion worldwide when some six years previously directed low-budget films such as "Heavenly Creatures." They say the best things happen by accident (or is that just me?) and just two and a half hours ago I was flicking through the channels, looking for something to watch when I stumbled amongst Heavenly Creatures. Dubbed by my TV guide as an 'intense and atmospheric treat,' I decided to sit and watch it, if not only for the adorable Kate Winslet. By the end I was convinced I had just watched one of the best films I have seen in years!
In 1954 two girls brutally murdered one of their mothers in what still remains, to this day, perhaps the most documented and sensational murders in New Zealand's history. "Heavenly Creatures" tells the true story of this crime drama and highlights their strange friendship. If you think before you watch this that you're just in for another stereotypical blood-splatter flick then you are very much mistaken.
Pauline Rieper (Melanie Lynskey) is a typical student in a strict all-girls' school who is completely bowled over when Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) joins her school and tears up her pathetic existence into something radical and fresh. They have similar interests such as the arts, sculpture, English and the tenor Mario Lanza. Eventually both the romance and the frightfulness of it all reaches a tragic conclusion. In their all consuming friendship Juliet and Pauline create a "Fourth World," better than heaven (because it has no Christians), inhabited by the clay figures they have fashioned to represents their friends and where the music of Mario Lanza, the greatest tenor on earth, is always in the air.
The two girls' emotional attachment has turned incredibly intense, so that they barely think of anyone but each other, and the fantasy stories begin to seep into reality for them. Not even a four-month stint in hospital for Juliet can keep Pauline away. Pauline drops out of school and stops talking to her parents; Juliet learns that her mother is sleeping with one of her clients, and that her parents are divorcing. Now she's being sent to South Africa, and there is no telling when she will see Pauline again. Unless they do something about their parents so that they can stay together...such as murder.
Watching the film I felt a continual underbelly of lesbianism playing a major role. These suggestions are continually squashed, however, due to the times the movie is set in where homosexuality is an 'unnatural' subject. Kate Winslet is superb as the bright and luminous Juliet and with her posh accent, she brings a certain level of humor to the film that would have been impossible without her. Melanie Lynskey portrays Pauline superbly too, contrasting from the mature attitude of a fully grown woman to the sly grin of an evil teenage girl who knows too much. The films comedy moment can be cheesy at times, but are intentional in their positions in that they counterbalance the horrifying scenes. Many moments pre-horror build up the suspense brilliantly, then perform a sort of anticlimax. However, the peaceful and tranquil music that plays just before the brutal and obscene ending is obviously intentful.
The ending is what stays with the viewer most when looking back on the film The way Jackson directed the scene to be something truly spectacular was superbly pulled off. The screams of the mother and the cuts to the alternative-world made me want to cover my eyes in fear, but I persisted and watched through the horror. The dialogue of the film is brilliant, and only Peter Jackson could come up with the idea of life-size clay models that walk and talk. Six years later he'd be making something a lot grander. Richard Taylor supplies the CGI effect and is superb in doing so making for surprisingly life-like, realistic characters - remember, this was 1994!
In the end what you have here is a fantastic and timeless film that is perfect for college/University studies both in direction and content. What is most fascinating, apart from the real-life chilling theme that features prominently throughout, is the fact that Peter Jackson went on to become one of the world's most celebrated directors in history, whilst Kate Winslet went on to star in the most successful motion picture of all time! This is a film that will appeal to all generations (obviously not youngsters) of people with a thirst for crime, horror, blood, gore and fantasy. Don't try and ignore it - this film will make your head spin!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of technical aspects of this blu ray release., November 30, 2010
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This is not a review of the movie; we know how great it is, but an insight on the technical aspects of this Canadian import version of the blu-ray release, region A, which does play in the US. I did a side by side comparison of exact scenes w/ the upscaled dvd (via HDMI) and this blu-ray.

1) The first and foremost noticeable eye opener are some cropping (missing information) on the sides of the picture of both versions, and vice versa. Let me explain. In a large majority of camera shots, either the tops and bottoms, or the sides are missing on the dvd or blu-ray, and vice versa. In simple film school terms, it is panned and scanned (P&S) differently. I use the term P&S loosely because as you know it's associated w/ old 4:3 full screen, but the point is that the picture editing, cropping, and zooming are different. I chose several exact scenes that were not in motion, and I paused at the exact location to compare. The P&S-ing is regardless of the aspect ratio, 1.79:1 Blu-Ray, 2.35:1 DVD.

2) The 1080i blu picture is only slightly better than the upscaled dvd picture. Blu-ray picture still contains jitters and artifacts considering a 16 years old (1994) transfer. Colors at times are not as accurate, so the noticeable improvement is in the definition (resolution), however only slightly.

3) Blu-ray: The sound of the English 2.0 track is very low, while the French 2.0 is loud. Volume just needs manual adjusting, which is annoying that these 2 language tracks are not standardized (or equalized).

4) Blu-ray contains no extra materials. DVD contains Trailer. Hence, you might think I'm keeping both the blu and the dvd versions, yes, I recommend that. In fact, I'm keeping the VHS as well! That old clunker is the original, cut (edited), theatrical version.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, horrible DVD!, June 24, 2002
By 
M. Jackson (San Antonio, TX, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Heavenly Creatures (DVD)
Please, save yourself some aggravation and wait for Miramax to release an official Region One DVD! Peter Jackson's luscious cinematography, originally screened in 2.35:1, when cropped to 1.33:1 is enough to make you cry. Audio is poor two-channel stereo, and there are no extra features. I purchased this Canadian import over a year ago because I love the film, but I've watched it only once because of its inferior quality. Have patience!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Film of the 90's, March 19, 2002
By 
"tierneyfan" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
A unique masterpiece, which infuses ingenious camera techniques, solid acting, and a well-adapted script. Stars Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey in their film debuts. Both show promise and this film is more Lynskey's than Winslet's, but Lynskey has yet to become a household name (she will sooner or later). This film is based on the most celebrated trial in placid New Zealand, the Parker-Hulme case, which concerned the girls' murder of one of their mothers in the 1950's. What's intriguing about it is that one of the girls (Hulme) turns out to be the celebrated mystery writer, Anne Perry.
Winslet plays Juliet Hulme, an English debutante who moves to Christchurch, New Zealand when her father becomes the Rector of the town's college. As a child she suffered from tuberculosis and like the stereotypical upper-crust English, her parents neglected her by abandoning her in the Caribbean. She strikes up a friendship with the class wallflower, Pauline Parker, a girl of a lower socio-economic background, who also suffered from a childhood illness and felt outcast. They soon become best friends and pursue their interests in writing stories and listening to opera to escape their mundane surroundings. Scarily, their imagination takes over and they lose touch with reality. Their emotional dependence on each other frightens their parents, who fear their daughters have developed homosexual feelings for each other. As a solution, they attempt to separate the girls. Juliet is to live in South Africa with her relatives and Pauline is not granted a passport. The girls view Pauline's mother (Sarah Peirse) as the main obstacle of staying together. They hatch a plan to kill her and make it look like an accident.
The director, Peter Jackson, presents the story from the girls' perspective. The viewer is sucked into their visually rich fantasy-world, and one sympathizes with their plight. One understands the girls' disillusionment with their parents, when Juliet discovers her mother (Diana Kent) is having an affair with a married man. Pauline's parents, it is discovered during the trial, were never married. In fact, her father was still legally married to his first wife. Jackson, who understandably was the perfect director to direct Lord of the Rings, utilizes clay animation, timely editing and angular use of the camera. And most important of all is the script, based mostly on Pauline Parker's diaries written during the two year period leading up to the horrifying crime. The result is the most original film in decades.
FYI, the girls were released when they turned 21 years old on condition that they never meet. Perry, who took her stepfather's surname, her stepfather being the man her mother was having an affair with, currently resides in Scotland. Surprisingly and coincidentally, so does Parker, although they have yet to meet again. They both are doing what they dreamed of when they met-Perry writing books and Parker riding horses (she runs a horseback riding academy). Perry, who lived in the US for a number is years, is a devout Mormon and Parker is a devout Catholic. They both eschewed religion as teenagers.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Jackson's captivating murder story with no villains, December 13, 2003
By 
This review is from: Heavenly Creatures (DVD)
For those who wondered how the director of "Bad Taste" and "Brain Dead" got to direct "The Lord of the Rings," this 1994 film from director Peter Jackson supplies the answer. In 1954 two teenage girls brutally murdered one of the their mothers in what must be the most sensational murder in New Zealand history. "Heavenly Creatures" tells the strange story of these two girls and their unique relationship. If you think this is just a reality based splatter flick, then you are going to be much more than surprised and impressed by what Jackson has accomplished.
Pauline Rieper (Melanie Lynskey) is a simple and rather dull young girl who is totally dazzled when Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) enters her life. Juliet is impressed as well, because Pauline has a scar on her leg from an operation. Juliet declares that: "All the best people have had chest and bone disease! It's all frightfully romantic!" Eventually both the romance and the frightfullness of it all reaches a tragic conclusion. In their all consuming friendship Juliet and Pauline create a "Fourth World," better than heaven (because it has no Christians), inhabited by the clay figures they have fashioned to represents their friends and where the music of Mario Lanza, the greatest tenor on earth, is always in the air.
Jackson brings this fantasy world alive, which allows him to explore the pivotal theme of juxtaposition throughout the film. This comes into play most notably at the beginning and ending of "Heavenly Clouds." Jackson begins with a 1950s newsreel about Christchurch, New Zealand, which is interrupted by the appearance of the two screaming and bloodied girls, thereby symbolizing the way this sensational case shocked the nation. Even more effective is the film's conclusion, where the murder is inter-cut with what the girls think will happen if they do not find this way of saving themselves.
With any film based on historical events there are omissions, alterations, substitutions, and the like, and "Heavenly Creatures" is no different. On the plus side of the ledger Jackson attempted an almost morbid verisimilitude. Almost all of the locations used for filming were the real locations where events occurred, including the tea shop where Honora Parker ate her last meal, which was torn down a few days after the shooting ended. However, the cast and crew found the actual murder scene uncomfortable and moved further down the path. All of the journal voice-overs come directly from Pauline's diary, as are the characters in the girls' make-believe world. However, since the two filled up fifteen notebooks and hundreds of letters devoted to their fantasies, the movie actually underplays these elements.
However, having familiarized myself somewhat with the actual "facts" of the case, and the recollections of the woman one of the girls grew up to be, the key point of dispute is the motive. But if Jackson is guilty of becoming fixated on the idea that these two young girl committed a murder because they could not bear to be separated and have their fantasy world unravel, then he can be hardly faulted for finding that a fascinating interpretation of the evidence (the girls never testified or were examined in court, but Pauline's diary was seen as providing all the answers). More importantly, Jackson does not seem guilty of taking gratuitous liberties. Instead he is offering a valid interpretation of the evidence. For example, the murder sequence greatly reduces the number of blows, but the effect is still horrific where the sounds alone can force you to shut your eyes, so it seems trivial to complain about any inaccuracy given the scene's effectiveness.
From an artistic standpoint Jackson's interpretation is more than justified, especially at the end. In addition to the information we receive between the final scene and the closing credits that tells what happened to Pauline and Juliet, Marzio Lanza sings "You'll Never Walk Alone," which is as perfect a choice of a song to play at the end of a film as you will ever hear, forcefully underscoring the film's thesis. Jackson says this is "a murder story about love, a murder story with no villains," and it is hard to argue with this idea after watching his film.
"Heavenly Creatures" received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Jackson and Frances Walsh. The film won every award for which it was nominated in the New Zealand Film and TV Awards, including Best Actress for Lynskey and Best Foreign Performer for Winslet (both of whom were perfectly suited for those roles), and earned film festival awards in Venice and Toronto. This is a striking and unforgettable film, both creative and thoughtful. Those who are drawn to it because it was directed by Peter Jackson might be shocked by the subject matter, but they will not be disappointed with the results.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Jackson's early brilliance., July 20, 2006
By 
J. Kara Russell "Actress/Artist/Musician/Writer" (Hollywood - the cinderblock Industrial cubicle) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Heavenly Creatures (DVD)
I saw this film years ago when it had its major theatrical release. Years later, it remains as powerful. The wonderful, odd vision of Peter Jackson (Director of LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy) is put to use in this story of two young girls whose fantasy world runs amok.

I think it would be fair to say this is the breakout film that brought Kate Winslet to the well-deserved attention of a world market, but her co-star Melanie Lynskey gives the more complex performance of the two in this, if only because her role is given more layers. The DVD is an uncut version, and it lends a different light to her sexuality than the version in theatres, but it is all still awkwardly (perfect for this story telling) ambivalent.

Jackson makes weird and wonderful use of the clay figures and fantasy land of the girls, and although I don't really think he has a full handle on what a girl's fantasy land would be made of (this one was awfully muddy - ick), it is still a compelling, complete and disturbing vision - all fitting. There are truly great moments which feels completely, messily, real. Sarah Peirse's entire performance is wonderful, as the more downtrodden and distressed mother. This is really fine acting.

Not long after the film was released, the actual case this was based on was re-opened, and it was found that, as part of their "treatment," the girls were given a drug to sedate them, but it has since been shown to cause extreme violent outbursts. It is too bad this information could not have been available as the film was made. I believe Jackson could have incorporated this and made the film even richer. But that would be icing. This is a true story, and a truly wonderful film of it.
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Heavenly Creatures [Blu-ray]
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