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Showing 1-10 of 89 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 264 reviews
on December 21, 2016
Saw this disturbing yet wildly emotional, imaginative and engrossing 1994 film back in the 90's, and until recently, I never thought I could bear to watch it again due to the vile subject matter of matricide. It's amazingly well-done and the two young leads are incredible actresses. It's directed by Peter Jackson who would go on to do Lord of the Rings. Really. It's one of the better F/F films in our genre out there-- I can't stress this enough.

This is based on a true-crime story which goes down in New Zealand in 1954. It follows the obsessively needy and close friendship of teenager Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) and her best friend Pauline Rieper/Parker (Melanie Lynskey) who brutally murder Pauline's mother when she tries to keep them apart.

The girls are seemingly opposites. Juliet is the beautiful and charming daughter of a brilliant physicist/university rector and an attractive mother who does social work. Pauline is the angry daughter of a fishmonger and a mother who runs a boarding house out of their home. The girls initially bond in school via their shared rebellious natures and the health issues that set them apart from others. Soon enough, their vivid imaginations and writing pursuits isolate them into their own private world.

Having read a bit of the case outside of what this movie covers, the girls are convicted and serve less than 6 yrs in separate prisons... then are given new identities and passports upon their release. Pauline would go on to become an anonymous recluse as Hilary Nathan, but Juliet Hulme would go on to become Anne Perry... international bestselling author of crime fiction!

Bizarre and fascinating story. I'm glad I decided to see it again... it's as good as ever. Loved revisiting such a young and talented Kate Winslet!!! Recommended.
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on November 25, 2015
This is a chilling portrayal of two young girls obsessive relationship and their misguided need for fantasy to escape the suppression of their parents and 1950s homophobic society.

Brilliant acting and great use of early VFX, personally I do not find it a negative protrayal of their relationship, I think it is very well done and still invokes a sense of empathy for their characters and an understanding of their need to escape, making the finale so much more disturbing. Both lead actresses are brilliant and the supporting cast superb and convincing in each of their roles. The NZ mother's character is so real and conflicted, the opening and final scenes are harrowing because it depicts death and pain in all its true horror not just as a blow them away type of murder act.
Be prepared to be disturbed, but this is one film where Peter Jackson used VFX to its most compelling and pyschological best, not just for the dazzling effects as in every fantasy film he did that followed. This is by far one of his best films, if not the best!
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on December 14, 2013
Maybe it was the time period, but one would have thought these two girls would have been considered a little weird long before the murder was committed. It is hard to swallow that 15 year old girls spent so much time in fantasy and make believe worlds creating characters and personalities to relate to. I would have found that activity to have been normal to a child of maybe 6 or 8, but not 15. But Like I said, maybe it was the time period, it was early Fifties. This movie held my attention and although odd, was entertaining and well acted. It ends rather abruptly with little to no real consequences for either girl (spoiler alert) and although one girl grows up to be a famous mystery writer you are left to wonder what became of the other girl.
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on October 23, 2009
This film distinguishes itself in so many ways. It marks the arrival of Peter Jackson as a cinematic voice to be reckoned with. His melding of bone-chilling reality and terror and fantasy suggests his later works, "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the underappreciated remake of King Kong. In her film debut Kate Winslet arrives auspiciously as the sickly daughter of a disfunctional upper class family. Not to take anything away from Jackson and Winslet, who would be the selling points here, is the work of Melanie Linskey. Aside from the scene in the beginning that forbodes the film's shocking conclusion I thought Linskey telegraphed her performance with a Kubrickian stare as she poses for a photograph with her smiling private school classmates. Don't be fooled. Linskey's turn is one of great subtlety as she assays the insecurities and loneliness of Pauline Parker. Seemingly polar opposites Parker and Winslet's Juliet Hulme serve a need in each other that would ultimately become lethal. "Heavenly Creatures" stylistically is unlike any film I've seen before and serves as not only one of the great film's produced in New Zealand but one of the best films of the Nineties.
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on July 28, 2016
Peter Jackson, famous for lending his skills on films like The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies, ended up making an amazing masterpiece with this gem during the 90s!

A notorious tale of a schoolgirl's friendship that ended in murder, this is the story that rocked Christchurch, New Zealand over 50 years ago. This Peter Jackson film is what started Kate Winslet's career as she played Juliet Hulme, a girl who developed a strong bond with fellow classmate, Pauline Rieper, portrayed by Melanie Lynskey.

As Juliet and Pauline's friendship soared, we see the events that threatened to end a relationship their parents viewed as "unhealty" and obsessive. When confronted at the idea of separation, the two girls acted on a darker fantasy; the end result leading to a woman's homicide and becoming the catalyst that sealed their separation once and for all. Peter Jackson did a remarkable job on Heavenly Creatures when it came to bringing the girls' fantasies to the big screen and detailing the events that lead to their friendship to the actual murder!
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VINE VOICEon July 20, 2006
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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on July 17, 2016
Wow! I did not know the story. Very creative way to document the actions of these 2 girls. Lesbian? I really thought that these were 2 girls who were so totally involved with each other in their fantasy worlds that the move to sex would not be surprising. Someone said that Juliet is an author and Pauline a teacher in riding school but does anyone know whether they pursued lesbian relationships or any relationships after leaving prison. I can see why this got Peter Jackson the offer to direct The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Not recommended for children but I'd recommend it for anyone else.
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on June 22, 2005
Sometimes a director cuts scenes for a reason. Although this DVD is the "uncut" version, the original theatrical release is highly preferable in that it excludes scenes that really add nothing to the story (watch some well-known films, such as Apocalypse Now, and it's usually the case that the deleted scenes more often than not bog down the narrative). The extra scenes here in this DVD serve only to impede the excellent pacing and relentless build-up to the chilling conclusion. And the final frame of a bloodied Parker detracts from the original cut's ending. The original depiction is quite powerful enough and better conveys her anguish and total despair. This 'uncut' ending only serves to focus attention on the murder itself instead of the overall emotional consequences of her actions and the pair's final separation.

Be that as it may, Heavenly Creatures is still one of my all-time favorite films. If only they'd offer a DVD with BOTH versions!
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on April 11, 2014
This is a movie that I discovered some years ago and I was captivated by the true story, the fine acting and the extremely high quality of all the production values. Everything about "Heavenly Creatures" pulls the viewer into the shared world of fantasy of two young girls from the 1950s and it is a beautifully crafted world of music, magical kingdoms and bold colors. There is however a dark underside to the film that leads the two girls to the brutal murder of one of the girl's mothers to gain their freedom but which leads instead to the total destruction of this dream world and the end of the girls friendship for the rest of their lives. I did research the famous case and found out what became of the girls and the twist and turns that each took in their adult years. A must own for any collector of classic film and which I highly recommend.
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on November 30, 2010
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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