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Heathers (1988)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 43
Fresh: 41 | Rotten: 2

Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.

80

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 71,648

My Rating

Movie Info

A deliciously nasty black comedy, Heathers is set at a cliquish high school in Ohio. The most exclusive of those cliques is the Heathers, comprised of the prettiest and most popular girls in town. The group's leader is the manipulative Kim Walker, who orchestrates the humiliation of anyone who fails to meet her standards. Eventually, Heathers member Winona Ryder begins to exhibit a conscience; together with her hardcase boyfriend Christian Slater, Ryder plots to avenge all the unfortunate

R,

Drama, Comedy, Cult Movies

Daniel Waters

Mar 30, 1999

New World Video

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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (2) | DVD (30)

Heathers locates the emotional totalitarianism lurking in a prom queen's heart.

August 31, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A super-smart black comedy about high school politics and teenage suicide that showcases a host of promising young talents.

August 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Two decades later, Heathers is so on the money, with its vague but unmistakable parallels to several school shootings, that it could never be made today.

July 15, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A super-smart black comedy about high school politics and teenage suicide that showcases a host of promising young talents.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Its inanities and glib pretensions are so thick that it mainly comes across as tacky and contrived.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (5)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film uses an intimate knowledge of teen-movie clichés to subvert their debased values from the inside.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

After Columbine, this dark comedy isn't as funny.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (3)
Common Sense Media

Heathers, with all its flagrant masochism and violence, is a throwback to a more innocent time, where such films could be made and still be deemed over the top fantasy.

July 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Bangitout.com
Bangitout.com

... the film paints high school as a veritable hell where the only way to alleviate suffering is by making others suffer more.

August 11, 2008 Full Review Source: DVD Review
DVD Review

So grab your croquet mallet, load up on "Ich luge" bullets, and crank up the Big Fun: Heathers is a motion picture that continues to impress and disturb, even 20 years after release.

July 1, 2008 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

Dark, cynical, but deliciously funny, Heathersis a fascinating look not just at high school but at the way we look at high school.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

fantastic

June 20, 2007 | Comment (1)

Lehmann's audacious feature debute transforms teen suicide into a wild and mean satire with a giddy tone. Good year for indies: The movie premiered at Sundance in 1989, along with sex, lies and videotape, thus heralding Gen-X Cinema.

December 4, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

An amazing black satire filled with vicious biting words that snap like firecrackers.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Scathing and hilarious.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Viciously delicious cult classic, flip side of "The Breakfast Club."

October 15, 2004

Director Michael Lehmann and writer Daniel Waters keep things dark and tasty, and the dialogue and high school politics still resonate with a sharp sting.

May 17, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Blistering comedy run aground by cop-out ending.

March 1, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Lehman's delightfully dark and deranged take on adolescent angst and isolation. Heathers is heuristic in its haughty examination of teenaged alienation

May 25, 2003
Movie Eye

Audience Reviews for Heathers

Best friends, social trends and occasional murder.

Good 80's movie! From the iconic opening sequence to the explosive ending, every scene is darkly comic and dripping with irony. It almost looks over-rehearsed as nearly every actor's performance is flawless. Ryder in particular shines with her angst-ridden 'Dear Diary' entries, and Slater I don't believe has ever again encapsulated such a perfect role in his career to date. The humour is dark and the plot unbelievable at times, but this only adds to the surreal atmosphere and unforgettable lines. A sexy cast, a great script and director Michael Lehmann's vision makes this a must-see film.

A regular girl, Veronica, tries to survive the social jungle of high school by sticking with the three most popular girls at school who are all called Heather. As she meets a sociopath named JD, her life spirals into a continuous cycle of hate, unintentional murder and indifference, as she exacts revenge on her enemies, also known as her best friends.
July 29, 2013
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

It's dark, but well made. I couldn't take my eyes off of Winona Ryder who gives a bravura performance. The film has its charm, despite its violence.
December 22, 2012
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

A grotesque and very dark comedy, Heathers is a sadistically sweet encounter that pushes the envelope for what a conventional high school film can accomplish. Besides being caustically dark, it's actually quite charming and eccentric in places. The film is clearly a reckoning on the role of popular crowds in high schools and the how abysmal the rest of the student population's lives truly are. Playing up the concept of mass suicides, pop music, and adult's view of Generation X in the late days of the eighties, Heathers is a comedy as well as commentary on life as a teenager. Before all else I have to point out how cheery and saccharine most of this looks. Its' sets and costuming are all multi-colored and bright as those of The Wizard of Oz. The Heathers are each in high fashion outfits most of the time, or else celebrating their school spirit with aplomb. Our leads are two sensationally talented people in Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Though much of the film is unbelievable in its acceptance of such horrifying events such as gay love affairs gone suicide pact etc., it has a happiness and consideration for the audience's intelligence that it is so daringly different. Ryder and Slater have some intense, and yet juvenile, chemistry between them. Slater certainly gives the best and most potent performance as a marginalized youth hinting at the snake-like charm right under the surface. While it's quite funny, the tone shifts about half-way through the film. It keeps its stylization of lacing queer images, music, and dialogue with dark humor, but delves darker and deeper as Slater's character's motivation becomes clear. The love story of course suffers; it becomes much more about social privilege and the problems with how social structures in high school are set up, leading to a film revolving around a serial killer. Truly, it's a pleasant film, and a nearly iconic one at that, but the decision to add depth was such a surprise that it was off-putting. It becomes much more disturbing, but lacks the eccentric charm it starts off with. For that I find fault, but otherwise it was interesting and fresh.
October 11, 2012
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

In reviewing this film, I'm reminded of what Michael Haneke said of his own Funny Games: people watch this film for as long as they need to. In the middle somewhere, it gets seriously uncomfortable, and suffice to say that it was probably a lot funnier before the Columbine shootings. Before you hit whatever your breaking point may be, though, you'll experience one of the most cynical comedies ever made, and you'll recognize elements of your own high school experience, distorted and twisted and with the teenage drama hilariously cranked to eleven. Had the actors been hammy, this film would have completely missed the mark, but by playing it straight, they make the story come across as something true to life, and better - worse - something reasonable. A film I missed when I was young, but dated as it may be it's still valuable as a groundbreaker. Masterfully dark comedy - definitely take a look.
September 14, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

    1. Heather Chandler: Fuck me gently with a chainsaw, do I look like Mother Teresa?
    – Submitted by Joey S (9 months ago)
    1. Veronica's Dad: I don't patronize bunny rabbits
    – Submitted by Michael B (14 months ago)
    1. Heather Duke: Veronica, why are you pulling my dick?
    – Submitted by Melanie D (14 months ago)
    1. Pauline Fleming: Whether to kill yourself or not is one of the most important decisions a teenager can make.
    – Submitted by George D (16 months ago)
    1. Veronica's Dad: I do not patronize bunny rabbits!
    – Submitted by Abby B (17 months ago)
    1. Heather Chandler: Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw.
    – Submitted by Tia L (17 months ago)
View all quotes (29)

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