Forgotten favourites – Heavenly Creatures

Posted on 1 November 2020
By Dana Andersen
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Heavenly Creatures is the type of movie that should be rated up there alongside it’s peers, but seems to have sadly been forgotten over the decades since its release.

Entering the public consciousness alongside classics like Interview With The Vampire, Pulp Fiction, Clerks and Shawshank Redemption, its perhaps not too hard to see why it didn’t stick in peoples mind as a must watch film, but that doesn’t stop it from being exactly what this movie is.

Based on a true story, the audience is taken on the whirlwind friendship of two incredibly creative young girls, Juliet and Pauline, played by then new comers Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. Set in the 50’s however, this friendship is soon deemed inappropriate, and talks begin between their parents to separate the two.

Culminating in the two girls murdering Pauline’s mother while out on a walk, its certainly not everyones cup of tea.

Outside of the matricide though, it really is a charming and heartfelt movie, with some effects that are way ahead of its time.

The girls create their own world together, using clay to sculpt their characters and kingdom, and the mixture of physical effects and computer editing used, as the girls step into that world in ‘real life’ still hold up now, almost thirty years later.

Aside from the stunning visuals, the whole movie perfectly captures the teenage experiences of forming friendships, discovering creative outlets, and family disagreements, especially impressive when considering this was one of the first movies directed by Peter Jackson that didn’t include aliens , zombies, or a whole load of fake blood.

Jackson went out of his way to ensure the movie was respectful to the real life murder victim, while maintaining the magic of young friendships. Although rumours concerning the real life girls sexualities ran rife, especially around the time of the murder, the movie presents an extremely close relationship, allowing each individual viewer to decide in they consider it to be romantic or platonic.

The performances from both Winslet and Lynskey are also both truly outstanding. Ranging from moments of pure joy, to fear, sadness, and horror, the versatility of the two leading women is impressive, especially considering the actresses were both under the age of 20 and almost entirely inexperienced.

Going into Heavenly Creatures with an open mind is a requirement not everyone is looking for in a viewing experience, but its certainly a film thats still worth giving a watch, if only for the beautiful views of New Zealand and the stylised 50’s aesthetic.