Review by Michael Jacobson
Kate Winslet, Melanie Lynskey, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent, Clive Merrison,
Director: Peter Jackson
Audio: Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Length: 109 Minutes
Release Date: September 24, 2002
sad it is for other people, that they cannot appreciate our genius…”
I first bought my DVD player five years ago, I sat down and eagerly made a list
of every title I especially wanted to see on disc. That’s not surprising.
What may surprise a lot of people was the number one title on my list.
It wasn’t Raiders, Star Wars, Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, or
The Godfather. It was Heavenly
why Heavenly Creatures means so much to me is like trying to describe
what vanilla tastes like. The only
movie I’ve seen more often than it is 2001, yet no matter how many
times I see it, it affects me like it did the first time. For me, it’s a rare experience where intimate knowledge of
a film’s every line and every frame doesn’t diminish its power.
It’s like a Shakespearean tragedy, where choices lead to dire
consequences. Even though you may
know every beat of Hamlet, you still hang on to each word as it spirals
towards its unchanging conclusion, as though some part of you irrationally hoped
that this time it would be different.
and co-written by Peter Jackson, this movie is based on the true story of a 1954
crime that shook New Zealand to its core. More
significantly, it’s the story of two remarkable school girls who did the
unthinkable. Their tale will
captivate and horrify you.
Reiper (Lynskey) is quiet and introverted.
Juliet Hulme (Winslet) is brash and open. When Juliet arrives in New Zealand with her family and
attends Pauline’s school, the girls strike up an unusual and vigorous
friendship, fueled by their love of art, literature and film, as well as their
relationship intensifies into something that defies description, much to the
concern of their parents. Fearing
something “abnormal”, both sides want to see their daughters spending less
time together. The sad truth is, at
least in this film, that despite the intensity and unconventionality of their
relationship, despite the fact that they often dreamed up tales of bloodshed and
mayhem, there was something decidedly innocent about them.
Innocent even up until the time when they commit the deed that would tear
them apart forever.
finale of this movie never ceases to amaze me in the way it affects me.
As the credits roll, I notice my breath in my throat, a tremor in my
hands, and a tear in my eye. Images
linger in my mind long after they’ve disappeared from the screen.
It’s horror and sadness irrevocably melded…tragedy compounded by the
girls’ misguided belief that they were securing their future.
Instead of securing it, they lost it irretrievably.
wonderful young actresses made their debut with this film.
While Melanie Lynskey was terrific as Pauline, it was Kate Winslet who
captured my attention (and heart) back in 1994.
When I wrote a piece for Connection magazine listing three of the
best female film performances for young actresses to study, I gladly named Ms.
Winslet for her incredible and courageous work in this picture.
She was beautiful and brilliant, and it was no surprise to me that some
years later she would have starred in the biggest box office hit of all time and
have scored no less than three Oscar nominations.
Peter Jackson, who really captured the world’s attention with his astonishing
work on The Lord of the Rings, really authored a modest masterpiece with
this film. He almost invokes the
spirits of Pauline and Juliet and their imaginations in order to make their
world come to life on screen. His
blend of story, visual effects and character made Heavenly Creatures a
singularly unique movie. Nothing
quite like it came before it, or has come sense.
It’s no wonder it remains my pick for favorite picture from the 1990s.
reality always seems to conquer fantasy, and experience always ravishes
innocence. Once upon a time, two
young girls managed to shut those lessons out for a little longer than most, and
live in an imaginary world where those things never happen, and for a brief
moment, they found happiness and fulfillment in one another. Then they paid the price for it.
so pleased after loving this movie for almost a decade to finally see it in
widescreen format. This anamorphic
offering from Miramax frames the film much better than previous pan & scan
releases. The colors and detail
levels are generally very good and noticeably improved over the VHS release.
Occasionally darker images lose some sharpness, but these aren’t
frequent occurrences. Peter Jackson’s sometimes extreme use of lighting and color
bring the fantasy worlds to life, and they look very good here.
original 2 channel surround track works serviceably, though most of the picture
is dialogue oriented. The music,
including classics by Mario Lanza, sounds rich and full, and a few livelier
sequences bring the rear stage into play nicely. Not a spectacular offering by nature, but it suits the movie