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Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures

4.5 11
Director: Peter Jackson

Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse


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After winning a cult following for several offbeat and darkly witty gore films, New Zealand director Peter Jackson abruptly shifted gears with this stylish, compelling, and ultimately disturbing tale of two teenage girls whose friendship begins to fuel an ultimately fatal obsession. Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) is a student in New Zealand who doesn't much care for her


After winning a cult following for several offbeat and darkly witty gore films, New Zealand director Peter Jackson abruptly shifted gears with this stylish, compelling, and ultimately disturbing tale of two teenage girls whose friendship begins to fuel an ultimately fatal obsession. Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) is a student in New Zealand who doesn't much care for her family or her classmates; she's a bit overweight and not especially gracious, but she quickly makes friends with Juliet (Kate Winslet), a pretty girl whose wealthy parents have relocated from England. Pauline and Juliet find they share the same tastes in art, literature, and music (especially the vocal stylings of Mario Lanza), and together they begin to construct an elaborate fantasy world named Borovnia, which exists first in stories and then in models made of clay. The more Pauline and Juliet dream of Borovnia, the more the two find themselves retreating into this fantastical world of art, adventure, and Gothic romance as they slowly drift away from reality. The girls' parents decide that perhaps they're spending too much time together, and try to bring them back into the real world, but this only feeds their continued obsession with Borovnia (and each other) and leads to a desperate and violent bid for freedom. Featuring excellent performances (especially by Kate Winslet) and imaginative production design and special effects, Heavenly Creatures skillfully allows the audience to see Pauline and Juliet both from their own fantastic perspective and how they seem to the rest of the world. Remarkably enough, Heavenly Creatures is based on a true story; in real life, Juliet grew up to become mystery novelist Anne Perry.

Editorial Reviews

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Brimming with both feral energy and surprising humanity, Heavenly Creatures was best defined by its director Peter Jackson, who called it "a murder story about love, a murder story with no villains." This idea is reflected in the film's treatment of its "heavenly creatures," two schoolgirls whose consuming fantasy world is much more fulfilling than what the real world offers them: reality, in the end, is the film's true villain, as its intrusion on the girls' fantasy world ultimately brings everything crashing down. As seen by Jackson, a director previously known for such gory gross-out films as Bad Taste and Dead Alive, the girls are intelligent, creative creatures hurtling along on a weird trajectory towards madness; as played by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey, they are vibrant characters undone as much by their vulnerability as by their destructiveness. Winslet and Lynskey are the film's strongest assets, playing off each other in perfectly nuanced harmony. Where Winslet's Juliet is cocky and brash, Lynskey's Pauline is subdued and glowering; together, they glow with a righteous fire bordering on lunacy. Jackson refuses to condemn or apologize for them, leaving viewers to elicit their own conclusions from the story's parade of horror and beauty.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Miramax Lionsgate
Region Code:

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Melanie Lynskey Pauline Parker
Kate Winslet Juliet Hulme
Sarah Peirse Honora Parker
Diana Kent Hilda Hulme
Clive Merrison Henry Hulme
Simon O'Connor Herbert Rieper
Peter Elliott Bill Perry
Elizabeth Moody Miss Waller
Liz Mullane Mrs Collins
Ray Henwood Professor
Barry Thomson Farmer/Policeman
Peter Jackson Bum outside theater

Technical Credits
Peter Jackson Director,Co-producer,Screenwriter
Alun Bollinger Cinematographer
Jim Booth Producer
Carolynne Cunningham Asst. Director
Peter Dasent Score Composer
Ngila Dickson Costumes/Costume Designer
Jill Gormack Art Director
Allen Guilford Cinematographer
Michael Hedges Sound/Sound Designer
John Hubbard Casting
Ros Hubbard Casting
Hanno Huth Executive Producer
Grant Major Production Designer
Liz Mullane Casting
George Port Special Effects
Jamie Selkirk Editor
Richard Taylor Special Effects
Frances Walsh Screenwriter

Scene Index

Theatrical trailer


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Heavenly Creatures 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Deeply disturbing, incredibly crafted. One cannot help one's feelings of sympathy for these naive ''heavenly creatures'' whose devotion to one another plunges them deeper into delightful worlds of fantastic (fentistuc!) imagination. Any woman who, as a young girl, experienced loneliness and isolation can identify with the bond between these two brilliant teenagers who found, in each other, a friend and soulmate. Tragedy, a romantic concept to the young, is not so glamorous when real blood flows. Stunning, intense, funny, heartbreaking, and all the more so for being true - or almost true. A very different ''coming-of-age'' tale. Kate Winslet is a jewel. Melanie Lynsky is riveting, astonishing.
Hugo-Z-Hackenbush More than 1 year ago
I had no knowledge of this film until I watched it. The plot, with a diary narration unfolds slowly and inevitable like a fetid orchid. Kate Winslet is superb, but young Melanie Lynskey almost steals the movie. Their adolescent relationship is not quite innocent, but compared to our present culture, they seem almost wholesome. At first. That is what makes the movie so gripping. You could never set this film in present day because girls today buy Bratz dolls and listen to Brittany. They don't bicycle to their friends house and listen to Mario Lanza. Jacksons direction is very good; such a different movie from his later projects. Overall 4 out of 5.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this movie was well done and hauntingly creepy. its the story of best friends and an obsession like no other with a fantasy and etc. melanie did a good job and looks like drew barymore as she grew older. winslet was also good and surprised how young she looked.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stunning,emotionally devastating early work from Peter Jackson,with pitch-perfect performances and incredible visual control. Kate Winslet,in her debut,has never been better,the underused Melanie Lynsky in her first film as well shows a maturity beyond her years (why has this actress been so undervalued in later years?) and the finale is both horrifying and deeply moving..get the American dvd,for this is the full version with an extra 10 minutes that most territories sadly never got to see on it's original release,and yes,for once,the extra scenes are not filler but are crucial to the plot. Still possibly Jackson's best film,barring The Return of the King!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lest there be any doubt, Peter Jackson's skillful adaptation of this true story prepared the way for his masterpiece, "Lord of the Rings." Abandoning chronological order to focus on audience-pleasing drama, he takes the time to establish the fateful bond between the two leads and from it spins their trail of liberation and destruction. A must-see for any storyteller faced with adapting a true story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Heavenly Creatures' has to be the best movie ever. Both girls give brilliant performances, but I think it's unfair that Kate Winslet has received so much more notice than Melanie, who is just as good. It's fast-paced, beautifully filmed and the fantasy sequences are lush. It captures perfectly the essence of adolescent rebellion, the era they grew up in (the Fifties) and falling in love. It's based on a true story, too, so what more could you want? The only sour note has to be the last ten minutes, which are horrifying. But it skilfully conveys how far things have gone out of hand, and in no way undermines the brutality and violence of the girls' crime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this movie. It is so moody and deep and it made me love all of Melanie Lynsky's films, due to her stunning performance in this movie. Kate Winslet is also wonderful, much deeper and darker than her lovey titanic counter-part
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of the greatest movies ever made. Very dramatic and emotional. Both Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey deliver stunning performances. I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This motion picture is the best yet i have seen on both actresses part !! Kate Winslet gave an astonishing portrayal of Juliet, and Melanie Lynsky gave an unbeliveable performance. This is more of the quiet and deep loving nurturing films that I have had the pleasure of watching !!!!!Together in this movie they brought to life some of the real life drama of young teens in thier position.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago