The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson helms this chilling true-life drama set in 1950s New Zealand about an obsessive friendship between two girls — introvert Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) and self-confident Juliet (Kate Winslet, in her film debut) — that led to murder. The two become increasingly inseparable, retreating to an imaginary world, until their relationship invites opposition from their families that ultimately begets blood.
Rating- 9 out of 10
Disturbing, loving, creative, imaginative, and glorious are all perfect descriptions to sum up the amazing Heavenly Creatures. It’s hard to believe it was only the fourth full length feature film that Peter Jackson had directed and the first for actresses Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. Jackson’s work here is nothing short of extraordinary. His camerawork, the performances he gets from the entire cast, and his progression of the story through the intertwining of both the real and imagined is exacted nearly flawlessly. Both Winslet and Lynskey deliver what would be career defining performances for any actress. Heavenly Creatures, is at its core, a love story. The setting, being in the 1950’s (with terrific period detail), and them being two women, make for an interesting backdrop and situation but this is a familiar tale of love at all costs. Juliet (Winslet) and Pauline (Lynskey) are madly in love with one another and you can truly feel that as a viewer. It’s not a sexual love but a true and deep love where one girl truly completes the other. That’s why it is made all the more tragic when we know that their need to be with one another, while stronger than anything, clouds their judgment and causes them to make a fatal error that ends up separating them forever.
For anyone who likes films where you ride the wave of emotions with your main characters, this is the film for you. It’s rare to find a movie where the acting and filmmaking come together so flawlessly to tell a ripping good yarn. If there’s anything that holds it back from perfection is that this is a film that could have benefitted from a longer running time. While it’s a solid 99 minutes, it would have been nice to extend it by another 30 minutes to bring us closer to the supporting characters, particularly Pauline’s mother. That minor complaint aside, this is a very special film.