Heavenly Creatures

Critics Consensus

Dark, stylish, and captivating, Heavenly Creatures signals both the auspicious debut of Kate Winslet and the arrival of Peter Jackson as more than just a cult director.

92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 52

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 40,097
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Movie Info

Wealthy and precocious teenager Juliet (Kate Winslet) transfers from England to Christchurch, New Zealand, with her family, and forms a bond with the quiet, brooding Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) through their shared love of handsome big screen tenor Mario Lanza and games of make believe. But when their parents begin to suspect that their increasingly intense friendship is becoming unhealthy, the girls decide to run away to America, hatching a dark plan for those who threaten to keep them apart.

Cast & Crew

Melanie Lynskey
Pauline Yvonne (Parker) Rieper
Kate Winslet
Juliet Hulme
Sarah Peirse
Honora Parker Rieper
Diana Kent
Hilda Hulme
Clive Merrison
Dr. Henry Hulme
Simon O'Connor
Herbert Rieper
Hanno Huth
Executive Producer
Jim Booth
Producer
Peter Dasent
Original Music
Alun Bollinger
Cinematographer
Jamie Selkirk
Film Editor
Grant Major
Production Design
Jill Cormack
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Heavenly Creatures

Critic Reviews for Heavenly Creatures

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for Heavenly Creatures

  • Apr 18, 2013
    My fundamental problem with Heavenly Creatures is the pure nuisance the existence of the main characters creates. I tried not to let this effect my rating but it was overwhelming. The fact that this is true, and is apparently written in Pauline's own words made me strain even more. I understand that they're supposed to feel crazy, but I was just waiting for Juliet to die from illness and then for Pauline to hang herself. The two were annoying and I had difficulties watching their two moronic lives take account. One thing that seems to be hailed above all in this film is the performances. It stars Lynskey (later Rose in Two and a Half Men) and Winslet. I felt that they exaggerated facial expressions at times, and didn't always feel professionalized. The acting wasn't bad, but I don't think it's above average. The film did well in creating tension, making it rarely dry. Even though one can argue the climax begins towards the last thirty minutes, I found it all equally engaging. The opening was creative, and automatically set this eerie tone. With Peter Jackson (LoTR) focusing purely on the two girls, and occasionally the family, this film brought out a feeling of isolation, without setting it in a deserted area. The film has its talents, but left a bitter taste on my mouth. My rating is biased, but it is mine after all.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 26, 2012
    One of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen. I wouldn't say it was "good" and I didn't particularly enjoy it. I felt both Winslet and Lynskey overacted their parts, which was annoying at times.
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 12, 2012
    From the first scenes, showing 2 young teen girls running through a forest as the camera alternates between a 3rd person view of the girls to following them crashing through the brush, and then juxtaposing the action with a black and white visage of the same girls running along the deck of a ship, Peter Jackson gives notice that this is his picture and he is in full command of what you will bear witness to and how he chooses to present it. Based on a true story of two teens, the story (in a script co-penned by Jackson) uses actual passages of one of the girl's diary, making the events surreal and real at the same time. Jackson lets you enter into the lives and thoughts of these two bright, but seemingly broken girls, full of romantic adolescence while still looking at real life straight on. The camera gives perspective, with surprises of extreme close ups mixed with a million camera angles - letting you know that there is art behind the telling of this only slightly interesting story that occasionally straddles the line of melodrama. In fact, I felt that it was Jackson's art lifted the film from the mid morass of teen films into something much more profound; offering flights of fancy, both in film technique and in the fantasy world that the two girls create. Jackson smartly used film techniques true to the period in which the action takes place, giving us an oft times off putting glimpse into the mores of 1950's New Zealand (which so much echo the sentiments of England and the US of the day). In using scenes from Orson Welles' The Third Man, he cements the relationship between his own film and those films and techniques of the period, while using the girl's fascination with Mario Lanza (the great tenor of that period), to equally good use. Of course, for the film buffs, this film also has the added attraction of being the film that introduces the world to the acting chops of Kate Winslett, who, as one of the 14 year old girls, gives a gifted performance, even while playing second fiddle to the always brooding Melanie Lynskey. The film fails to achieve true greatness as it meanders and loses focus a bit in the last third of the film, but then, with the conclusion and a review of the opening scenes, you see how it all ties together and that Jackson had a wonderful vision for the film going in, making this so much more than a story of a murder, but a fine character study that aptly delves into the psyche of adolescent young women.
    paul s Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2012
    Peter Jackson strays from his typical slapstick/horror genre and attempts something more dramatic. It's a good effort, but the entire film is too weird for my taste. The story is true though, which does make everything a bit more interesting. There's also some great acting.
    Eric S Super Reviewer

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