Tag Archives: Fran Walsh

53 of 366: Heavenly Creatures

Kate-Winslet-and-Melanie-Lynskey-in-Heavenly-Creatures (1)

I like making lists and then making them again and then editing them. My downfall is I am often adding new tasks or ideas to a list before I finish anything on it, and then I make more lists and the madness continues.

This could be why I have 327 titles on my Netflix DVD queue and a list of another 243 I removed to save for watching next year … or probably never considering how long they were there before without ever arriving in my mailbox.

I still occasionally get stuck in the pattern of browsing through my instant queue for way too long before picking a movie, but I didn’t have that problem tonight when I spotted Heavenly Creatures.

I knew the film (1994) by Peter Jackson is a 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die recommendation and introduction to the acting careers Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey.

It is also an early film for Peter Jackson before he embarked on his path to bring the Lord of the Rings stories to the big screen.

I haven’t seen those films (I know, I know), but those who have may identify some small connection between Heavenly Creatures and the trilogy in that Jackson brings a bit of fantasy style into the true-crime based story set in 1950s New Zealand.

The platform for visual storytelling is there through the presence of the main characters’, Pauline (Lynskey) and Juliet (Winslet), diary entries expressing their teenage angst and struggles with their families trying to keep them apart.

Lynskey and Winslet’s characters are based on the lives of two girls who formed a fast friendship in their New Zealand school in 1952, much to the dismay of their parents.

They bond over music and movies and being somewhat outcasts in society with no harm done, that is until their relationship and connection progresses too far for their families to handle.

Juliet and Pauline come up with the perfect crime to escape their families and particularly Pauline’s mom, who they think is trying to keep them apart the most.

Jackson and screenwriter Fran Walsh, who is his wife and writing partner on many films, effectively mix the realism of Juliet and Pauline’s world with the fantasies they have through use of visual effects such as digital clay figures, colors and dream sequences.

That is certainly an interesting style to take with a film based on true events and a crime not expected of two teenage girls, but it works all together as a haunting and beautiful character-driven story that set the stage for Winslet, Lynskey and Jackson.

I haven’t been on McSweeney’s site in a long, long time (they have a lot of lists there to bring it full circle), but I also found a funny essay by Harris Mayersohn. 

“This was the last straw. I’m over you. My bedroom is full of bad memories and I must cleanse myself of you.

First go the pillows we once nuzzled. They smell too strongly of your Suave Ocean Breeze-scented conditioner. My tears only amplify their stench. So out the window they go and into the dumpster they’ll stay.”