HEAVENLY CREATURES is a true story based on a murder in 1954 New
Zealand by two fifteen-year-old girls. The movie starts with the
murder and then switches in a flashback to the year before and brings
you up to the time of the murder plus tells what happens afterward in a
textual epilogue. The script uses the actual diary of one of the girls
to narrate the show.
The movie stars Melanie Lynskey as the pudgy brunette who lives in
a working-class household. Kate Winslet plays the attractive blond who
lives in a manor house and whose parents are upper-class intellectuals.
The two, quite dissimilar, girls become instant buddies when they meet.
Later, they develop romantic attachments with each other. They spend
most of their time together in a fantasy land of knights and ladies,
and they commit all of their story to a novel they write together.
They also live the novel. They share a hatred of their parents, and
they make a mockery of their school.
What is right with this movie is the true story and the excellent
performances by both of the lead actresses. Lynskey reminded me a lot
of the actress from ANGEL AT MY TABLE which was also set in New
Zealand. Watch the scorn on Lynskey's dark eyes when she gets angry at
her parents or at her teachers. The romance between the two girls is
quite convincing and well done.
Sad to say that the writer and director, Peter Jackson, could not
decide what kind of movie he wanted to make so he made three. The
first is the murder story and the hatred and alienation of the two lead
characters with the adult world. This works very well. It could have
easily been a *** 1/2 movie if he had stuck to that. I guess he
decided that would not sell enough tickets.
The movie tries to be a comedy as well - a sort of true story
HAROLD AND MAUDE. This works for some people. The woman in front of
me spend almost the entire movie in one belly laugh after another.
Just having Lynskey smile or frown would set her off. I found it funny
a few times, but as a comedy it was a * show.
The saddest part was that they spent a lot of money on special
effects and made a significant part of the movie in a sword and sorcery
show ala WILLOW or EXCALIBUR. This was an abysmal failure for which I
would have given it no stars at all.
Copyright © 1994 Steve Rhodes