Heavenly Creatures

November 2005 - This 1994 film from director Peter Jackson is based on the true story of two teenage girls in 1950's New Zealand. The girls become more than friends then kill the mother of one of them so they can be together.

Kate Winslet makes her big-screen debut as Juliet Hulme. Melanie Lynskey also makes her acting debut as Pauline Parker, the girl whose mother gets bashed in the head at the end of a picnic.

Juliet and Pauline meet at school when Juliet blows in as the new girl in town. Pauline is a loner, but she and Juliet become fast friends when they're paired up in art class. After that, the two are constantly together, creating their own fantasy world and falling in love. Only Juliet's bout with TB can keep them apart. But, once she's well, they're back together and more determined to live out their fantasy.

The girls' close relationship troubles both sets of parents. Juliet's parents intend to leave and take her with them. But, they agree to let the girls spend their last couple days together. It's during this time that they kill Pauline's mother.

The film ends with the crime and the girls screaming bloody murder. The director includes comments at the end, saying that the girls were soon fingered for the crime and sent to separate prisons. They were each released after about five years with the condition that they never see each other again.

Overall review: ** An interesting story, but I kind of got lost in the storytelling as it went back and forth between reality and the fantasy that the girls created. Some of these fantasy sequences are depicted through computer-generated characters that foreshadow Jackson's special effects work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also would have liked more information about what happened after the murder. The few sentences that appeared on the screen were very unsatisfying.