Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) is a teenager living in 1950s New Zealand who has been hospitalized multiple times. Quiet and self-conscious about her weight, the fourteen-year-old meets someone new during one of her classes at the all-girl school she attends. Her name is Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) and she is a new student who has just moved from England. The two instantly connect, despite the fact that Juliet is diametrically opposed to Pauline’s personality – the former is popular, gutsy and outspoken. As their friendship grows stronger, the two girls create an entire imaginary universe together called Borovnia. There they talk, laugh, write stories, play and find refuge from their cold and cruel reality.
Pauline and Juliet love spending time together. Their favorite activity is writing adventure novels, which they hope to turn into movies someday to garner Hollywood fame. However, Pauline is not as close to her mother, Honora Parker Rieper (Sarah Peirse). On the contrary, the two fight constantly and fiercely. Although Juliet lives in a balanced, intellectual environment with her family, Pauline cannot stand being in her home and spends increasingly more time at her beloved friend’s house, alongside her parents. Both families become distraught when they notice the intensity of their relationship and decide to separate the two teenagers. But their endeavors do not go according to plan as Juliet and Pauline begin plotting together and come up with a way of killing Pauline’s mother.
“Journalists, hungry to capitalize on the Rieper/Hulme case, went in search for either of the two women. While Pauline was never located, Juliet was discovered to be prospering in Scotland as a bestselling murder mystery author using the pen name of Anne Perry. Considering the events chronicled in Heavenly Creatures, this makes a bizarre and ironically appropriate postscript.”
“Jackson opens his hyperkinetic film with a documentary clip detailing the sedate city of Christchurch, where the events took place. It’s the only chance to catch your breath before Jackson jump-cuts to the immediate aftermath of the crime, with a bloody Pauline and Juliet running through Victoria Park after bludgeoning Pauline’s mother, Honora (a memorably poignant Sarah Peirse), with a rock wrapped in a stocking.”
Did You Know?
Heavenly Creatures is the film debut for actresses Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. A majority of the film’s cast was chosen because they physically resembled the real-life Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme. Most of the locations where the motion picture was shot are the actual, original locations where the real-life events occurred, including that of the mother’s murder. Peter Jackson stated that he was attracted to the film because it portrays atypical villains who “are not evil, not psychopaths but totally out of their depth”. Review our Gay Themed Films Here