Monday, September 17, 2012

Heavenly Creatures - The Director's Cut

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Directed by Peter Jackson

Screenplay by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh

Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent, Clive Merrison and Simon O'Connor

As I try to expand my expectations on directors that are well known for certain genres, I have heard of Heavenly Creatures. It was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award. When I heard that it was based on a true story, you know that movies take liberties with the narrative. The movie is fine, but not memorable.

Taking a different approach about focusing on the friendship between a loner, Pauline Parker (Lynskey) and an English transplant to New Zealand, Juliet Hulme (Winslet). The two seems to bond over their shared love for singer, Mario Lanza and going into their fantasy world. Juliet calls that world, "The Fourth World" where its like heaven without Christians in it. As the girls spend almost all of their free time together, they start to collaborate on a novel that encapsulates their wildest dreams. Both of the girls parents feel like their friendship is going into dangerous territory.

It was surprising to know that this was the feature film debuts for Melanie Lynskey who people know from Two and Half Men and Kate Winslet. I was not familiar with the case of Parker/Hulme, because it took place in the 1950s New Zealand. I don't think anybody knew about it on the Western Hemisphere. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh wanted to retell the story of the girl and not the monsters that they were portrayed in the papers.

I didn't understand how the girls were initially attracted to each other as friends. I have shared interests with other people, that doesn't mean that I should be with them 24/7. I didn't feel their bond come through the way that Jackson and company wanted. It felt forced to me. The fantasy sequences of the film about "The Fourth World" and their made up kingdom of Borovnia were very nice to look at.

It was nice to see the beginning of the two leads careers, but I feel like American audiences would not get the significance of the story and the case.

My Rating

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