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Heavenly Creatures (1994)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 43,522 users  
Reviews: 252 user | 85 critic

Two girls have an intense fantasy life; their parents, concerned the fantasy is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

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Title: Heavenly Creatures (1994)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sarah Peirse ...
Honora Parker Rieper
Diana Kent ...
Hilda Hulme
Clive Merrison ...
Dr. Henry Hulme
Simon O'Connor ...
Herbert Rieper
...
John / Nicholas
...
Bill Perry
Gilbert Goldie ...
Dr. Bennett
Geoffrey Heath ...
Rev. Norris
Kirsti Ferry ...
Wendy
Ben Skjellerup ...
Jonathan Hulme
Darien Takle ...
Miss Stewart
Elizabeth Moody ...
Miss Waller
Liz Mullane ...
Mrs. Collins
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Storyline

Based on the true story of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, two close friends who share a love of fantasy and literature, who conspire to kill Pauline's mother when she tries to end the girls' intense and obsessive relationship. Written by Alexander Lum <aj_lum@postoffice.utas.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of a crime that shocked a nation. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a chilling murder and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 October 1994 (New Zealand)  »

Also Known As:

Heavenly Creatures: The Uncut Version  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,049,135 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Jim Booth passed away shortly after the production was complete. The film is dedicated to his memory. See more »

Goofs

After Pauline and Julie leave the screening of The Third Man, the people walking behind and around them change between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Director Peter Jackson opens with the scene that should, logically, end the film: that is, the moments immediately following the murder. The girls Juliet and Pauline run screaming up the hill-path to the tea-house, sobbing and covered in blood. The scene is intercut with b&w visions of the two running across a ship deck to meet Dr. and Mrs. Hulme, whom they both refer to as their mother, as the first three exclamations of "Mummy!" demonstrate]
Juliet Hulme: Mummy!
Pauline Parker: Mummy!
Juliet Hulme: Mummmmy!
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Preceding the end credits: "In the hours following Honora's murder, a police search of the Rieper house unearthed Pauline's diaries. This resulted in her immediate arrest for the murder of her mother. Juliet was arrested and charged with murder the following day. After Pauline's arrest it was discovered that Honora and Herbert Rieper had never married. Pauline was therefore charged under her mother's maiden name of Parker. In August 1954, a plea of insanity was rejected by the jury in the Christchurch Supreme Court trial, and Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme were found guilty of murder. Too young for the death penalty, they were sent to separate prisons to be 'Detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure.' Juliet was released in November, 1959 and immediately left New Zealand to join her mother overseas. Pauline was released two weeks later but remained in New Zealand on parole until 1965. It was a condition of their release that they never meet again." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Scalpers (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Just a Closer Walk With Thee
(Trad. Arr. Rosemary Turnbull)
Performed by Choirs of Burnside High School, Cashmere High School, Hagley Community College,
Villa Maria College
Musical Director - Rosemary Turnbull
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
16 March 2004 | by (Waynesville, OH) – See all my reviews

While watching Heavenly Creatures, we bring ourselves to sympathize with two unlikely heroines, and then they betray our trust by committing an unthinkable crime; by the time the film has ended, we feel as if our emotions have been chewed up and spat back out to the degree where we don't know WHAT to feel anymore. Heavenly Creatures is either the greatest act of manipulation ever put on film or a brilliant masterpiece about the dark side of life: personally, I think it's a little bit of both. Either way, I'm still trying to get my pulse to return to its normal rate. Director Peter Jackson (who before this had only made a number of cheap nasty horror movies -- Bad Taste and Braindead being the most popular --, but later became one of the most talked-about film-makers as a result of his film interpretation of The Lord of the Rings) does some remarkable things with bringing this horrendous true story to the screen: not only is this one of the most amazing motion pictures I've ever viewed, but it is one of the most important films to date. Period. Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) and Juliet (Kate Winslet) have developed an inseparable friendship whose intimacy is questioned by their strict parents -- Pauline's being the most stern. As their lives (and our sentiments) are suddenly torn apart, they decide to run off together -- but this could mean having to murder someone. I will not go any further in describing the plot (and I fear that I may already have said too much), not because I want it to surprise you, but because this film is so powerful that I would be doing a disservice to it if I tried to describe it in mere words. Written by Jackson and his real-life spouse, Frances Walsh, the screenplay for Heavenly Creatures is nothing short of remarkable (it even garnered the Academy's attention, earning the film's singular nomination). We both hate and love the two main characters, but most of all we just want them to be happy, to which Jackson and Walsh ask us the question, "at what cost?" Their scenes together -- ESPECIALLY the joyous ones -- are drenched with an unbearable amount of foreboding hopelessness that makes the inevitable conclusion even more tense. In her debut film role, Kate Winslet displays much of the potential she fulfilled later on in her career, but Melanie Lynskey (who has only achieved modest success since) deserves an equal amount of praise -- if not more. By the time we're sucked into the story (which doesn't take long), we forget that they're even acting, and our eyes are peeled to the screen with a voyeuristic intensity that is utterly discomforting. Jackson's direction is simply stunning: his visual depiction of the girls' surreal alternate universe is altogether mesmerizing. Heavenly Creatures is both fascinating and repelling in a way reminiscent of David Lynch's Blue Velvet. But after having written all this, I am still brought to the ultimate conclusion that words cannot contain the experience of viewing this film. There are only a few films that were genuinely painful for me to watch (Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men and Kimberly Pierce's Boys Don't Cry among them), but this is certainly such a film, and I would not recommend it to the faint of heart. This is not a movie you enjoy (and if you do, you should seek psychiatric help), but it is one you will never forget; I know I certainly won't.

Grade: A+


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