Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme met in school during the 1950s. Instant best friends, they proceeded to spend every minute possible together, often writing about a fantasy land of their own invention. More and more estranged from their respective families, the two girls realise that they are extremely different from most other people, and agree to take any steps necessary to ensure that they are not seperated. The two families are increasingly concerned about the girls' friendship in a strictly moralistic era.Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kate Winslet's first on screen nude appearance. See more »
When Pauline, Juliet, and Honora are riding in the bus, they are clearly on the upper part of Dyer's Pass Road approaching Sign of the Kiwi, which means they have gone past their destination of Victoria Park. 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 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 »
An extended version of Pauline's "The Ones That I Worship" poem includes several brief scenes different from the theatrical release. When the Borovinian Nicholas is murdered by Diallo, there is a split-second shot of his clay body cut in half. Immediately following this is an extra, omitted verse of the poem where Pauline and Juliet are shown dressed as Borovinian princesses. They toast with glasses of wine, then transform into clay models of themselves. 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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