- Rated: R
- Run Time: 1 hours, 39 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: September 24, 2002
- Originally Released: 1994
- Label: Miramax Lionsgate
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 2.35
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 2.35
- Dolby Digital Surround - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Trailers: Theatrical Trailer
- Interactive Features:
- Interactive Menus
- Scene Access
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Premiere - 06/01/1995
"...Exhilaratingly weird....Cruel logic and pitch-black humor..." - Recommended
Rolling Stone - 11/03/1994
"...A startling and haunting film....Blazing performances..."
New York Times - 11/16/1994
"...A feverish intensity to recommend it....[Lynskey and Winslet are] disturbingly effective..."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/19/1995
"...Intense and disturbing....Breathtakingly vital..." -- Rating: A+
Film Comment - 11/01/1995
"...Major passion, seamless narrative...and a berserk admonitory vibrancy....The film is inspired..."
Los Angeles Times - 11/23/1994
"...CREATURES has a witty, overwrought visual style that the girls themselves would probably favor, and it makes good dramatic use of state-of-the-art special effects..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 11/23/1994
"...Enthralling and frightening..."
USA Today - 05/26/1995
"...Unknowns Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet are exceptional finds..."
HEAVENLY CREATURES represented a departure of sorts for horror director Peter Jackson and was the first film to earn him widespread critical acclaim. Jackson both co-wrote and co-produced the picture, which is based on an actual 1954 murder case. The two protagonists, New Zealand schoolgirls Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, first meet when Juliet (Kate Winslet in her silver-screen debut) is introduced to Pauline's class as a new student. Pauline (Melanie Lynskey), an introvert who feels misunderstood by her family and peers, is instantly smitten with the sophisticated and self-confident newcomer, and the girls become best friends.
Eventually, Pauline and Juliet begin spending more and more time together, withdrawing into a magical land of their own invention--Borovnia, a fairy-tale kingdom populated by lifesize clay figures. The girls' distraught families fear that the friendship is becoming unhealthy, and Juliet's parents decide to end things by sending their daughter away. Faced with their impending separation, the girls decide nothing will tear them apart, leading to an unexpectedly grisly denouement made even more unnerving by the ignorance of their own delusion. A harrowing story of misdirected adolescent creativity, Jackson's HEAVENLY CREATURES is chillingly unforgettable.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.:
Thrilling and provocative, HEAVENLY CREATURES is the highly acclaimed, true-life story of the shocking crime that stunned a nation! When circumstances bring together two bright and highly imaginative teenage schoolgirls, they quickly form an unwavering bond, creating a fantasy world that only they can share. But soon their parents, disturbed by the intensity of the friendship, threaten to keep them apart. In retaliation, the girls vow to stay together, devising a secret plan that leads to shocking consequences! With captivating performances and startlingly original visual effects, HEAVENLY CREATURES is gripping entertainment you won't soon forget!
Set in a small New Zealand town in 1952, this disturbing yet fascinating film is the story of two girls from different social backgrounds who become inseparable friends. The stronger their unique bond grows, the more reluctant they are to interact with the outside world, and they begin to invent an alternate reality for themselves from which everyone else is barred. When their parents' intervention finally threatens to disrupt their fantasy, the girls decide to strike back--with horrific consequences.
Essential Cinema |
Theatrical Release |
- Shot on location in Canterbury, New Zealand.
- HEAVENLY CREATURES was the debut film for both Kate Winslet (who plays Juliet Marion Hulme) and Melanie Lynskey (who plays Pauline Yvonne Parker).
- At the time of the film's release, it came out that Juliet Hulme had become a well-known author of murder mysteries, writing under the name Anne Perry. She had been living quietly in Scotland, and neither her neighbors nor her publisher had any idea of her true identity. Apparently, the writer disapproved of the way her character was portrayed in the movie, especially the romantic implications surrounding her relationship with Parker.
- It was discovered at the time of the trial that Pauline's parents, Honora and Herbert Rieper, had never married, so Pauline was tried and convicted under her mother's maiden name of Parker. Both girls were found guilty of murder in August 1954. Neither received long sentences: Juliet was released in November 1959 and left New Zealand; Pauline was released two weeks later and stayed in New Zealand, on parole, until 1965. The court's leniency was dependent on the condition that they never see each other again.
Seventeen of the girls' former classmates were interviewed to ensure the film's accuracy.
Director Peter Jackson has a cameo appearance as a bum outside a movie theater.
The film features music sung by Mario Lanza: "Be My Love," "Donkey Serenade," "The Loveliest Night of the Year," and "You'll Never Walk Alone."
- "We have decided how sad it is for other people that they cannot appreciate our genius."--from the diary of Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey)
- "It is indeed a miracle, one must feel/That two such heavenly creatures are real."--from the diary of Pauline Parker