Heaven (2002) - Plot Summary Poster

(I) (2002)


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  • Love, retribution and redemption. Devastated by her husband's death from a drug overdose, Philippa, a British teacher living in Turin, Italy, tries to bring justice to the biggest drug dealer in Turin when the local police ignore her information about him. In building a home-made bomb and setting off a plan that fails miserably, her status changes from young widow to that of a criminal in custody. Young police officer Filipo descends into Philippa's life, changing her bleak outlook on existence into one in search of tranquility among corruption, as they become unlikely soul mates and lovers.

  • Turin, Italy: Philippa Paccard, deeply disappointed by the police's lax investigation following her husband's drug death, places a bomb in the dealer's cover office. Unfortunately, the bomb goes off unplanned and kills four innocent people. Philippa is arrested and questioned about her (supposedly terroristic) motives. When she hears about her plan going awry, she collapses. Filippo, the official translator, believes in her innocence, and conceives a plan for her escape. While Philippa does not want to elude the justice she deserves for the four innocent deaths, Filippo discovers he fell in love with the beautiful woman. Finally, the unequal lovers end up as fugitives from justice - but for how long?

  • The movie opens with us following an English teacher, Philippa working in Italy, who assembles a home-made bomb which she places in some serious guy's office. The law of unintended consequences applies, and she confesses to the murder of 4 innocent people. The key moment in the long (and thrilling) opening sequence is when the accidental translator Filippo holds Philippa's hand after she passes out briefly during interview. Beautiful, unspoken, declaration of love. By quite complicated (and subtle) means, which will wrong-foot you at every turn, Philippa and Filippo go on the run. The love affair is, for most of the movie, platonic, but searingly serious. All the cops in Italy are chasing down this 'terrorist' and her partner, and their chances of survival are poor, to say the least. They find out who their friends are. This is that strange thing, an art-house movie which works as a cops & robbers thriller.

  • A woman takes the law into her own hands after police ignore her pleas to arrest the man responsible for her husband's death, and finds herself not only under arrest for murder but falling in love with an officer.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The film is set in Turin, Italy. It opens with a prologue sequence showing the young Italian Carabinieri clerk Filippo (Ribisi) learning to fly a helicopter using a flight simulator. When he accidentally crashes the virtual helicopter by ascending too dramatically, his instructor tells him, "In a real helicopter, you can't just keep going up and up," prompting Filippo to ask, "How high can you go?" The film then cuts to Phillipa (Blanchett), who is preparing to plant a bomb in the downtown office of a high-ranking businessman. Although everything goes according to her plan, the trash can in which she places the bomb is emptied by a janitor immediately after she leaves and later explodes in an elevator, killing four people.

    Philippa is tracked down by the Carabinieri, arrested, and brought to the station where Filippo works. When she is questioned, she reveals that she is an English teacher at a local school where several students have recently died of drug-related causes. Discovering that they had all been supplied by the same local cartel, she had contacted the Carabinieri with the names of the drug ring leaders, begging them to intervene, but was repeatedly ignored. At her wits' end, she decided to kill the leader of the cartel, the businessman whose office she targeted. In the process of her interrogation, Filippo (who is translating her confession for his superiors) falls in love with Philippa and helps her escape from Carabinieri custody. After she kills the drug lord who was her original target, the pair become fugitives from the law and flee to the countryside, where they eventually find refuge with one of Philippa's friends and finally consummate their relationship. When the authorities raid the house where they are hiding, the fugitives steal a Carabinieri helicopter parked on the front lawn and escape by air. The officers on the ground fire repeatedly at them, to no avail, as the craft climbs higher and higher and finally disappears.

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