After a tragic car accident that kills his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people. However, when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.
Michael J. Fox,
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Melanie Lynskey was cast as Pauline Parker two weeks before filming began. Co-writer Fran Walsh discovered her at the last minute while scouring local high schools for Parker lookalikes. See more »
In art class, Mrs. Collins picks up some papers and a wooden tray with a circular shape carved into one end of it, then turns and talks to Juliet. In one shot the carving is facing her. In the next shot, the carving is facing away from her. See more »
[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]
[...] See more »
Preceding the opening credits: "During 1953 and 1954 Pauline Yvonne Parker kept diaries recording her friendship with Juliet Marion Hulme. This is their story. All diary entries are in Pauline's own words." See more »
A disturbing story told with imagination and confidence by a talented director and lead actresses
When Juliet Hulme moves from England to New Zealand with her parents, she meets Pauline Rieper a rather disaffected girl who is happy to have a friend. As they get to know each other, Pauline is pulled into the fantasy world of Royals and scandal that Juliet has written. However as the two fall deeper and deeper into the characters they have created, their relationship becomes ever more intense and their parents step in to separate them. Facing a geographical separation, the two plot to take revenge on the adults who seek to split them up.
At the time of release I remember thinking that this was an unusual film for Peter Jackson to have made given that he was more of a gore merchant as I was aware. Watching it not it still feels like a strange film for him to have done, but now it is for different reasons that is, that he has made one of the biggest trilogies of all time etc! Ignoring his previous and later works, this is a great little film and it acts as a showcase for Jackson as it shows he can be imaginative and also sensitive when required certainly coming to this on the back of Bad Taste, I had low expectations on how he would do it but he did it. The true story is adapted from Pauline's diaries and, while it must be impossible to see how they saw the world, the fantastic fantasy worlds we see here are better than the probably quite repressed world they had in mind from this film I saw the two as being more insular and self defensive than the elaborate fantasy scenes would suggest. The film did well to depict their relationship, immediately having worrying signs but being the sort of thing kids do and the killing hinted at by the film's opening is brutal and unpleasant we are never allowed to side with these people.
The direction is great, creating normal domestic scenes with the same confidence as it uses full size plastic models within the fantasy sequences.
The cast also do well, in particular two great lead performances. Naturally Winslet gets all the kudos for her character is ott at times and spins wildly emotionally a hard role to carry off but she does it very well and showed great promise (even if she looks too old for the role in my opinion). Lynskey impressed me much more as her role was more controlled and was delivered a lot better by an actress who looked like a shy, embarrassed little girl. Both were great for different reasons and they are a big reason this film works so well. Support from the likes of O'Connor, Kent and a few other well known faces are also good but there is never a question about their role within the film they are supporting the main two.
Overall I imagine this film will get a audience boost now as lots of LOTR fans go trawling through Jackson's back catalogue to see what else he has done (boy are they in for a surprise!) and I'm glad more people will see it.
The direction is great and it delivers a complex story in a colourful and fanciful manner, but the main praise should go to the two lead actresses who deal with really difficult characters and do so in a confident and believable manner even if the material means that many of us will want to find what they did abhorrent.
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