It was Peter Jackson’s fourth major film, Heavenly Creatures, that really made him an international star. It is probably still his most mature work to date and is a fantastic mix of dangerous love, irony and obsession. It is a film that blends many worlds and is a strange horror story, mixed with love yet it remains somehow a kitchen sink drama.
The movie stars Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet in one of their early films before they became major Hollywood stars. The story follows Lynskey’s character as an adolescent in New Zealand as she doodles and sleepwalks her way through this period in her life.
The film focuses on the friendship between her character and that of Winslets’s – who arrived in New Zealand and is from a wealthy family. Their friendship develops into a strange world of fantasy and the two begin to become consumed with their own self obsession. They are both detached from the real world and the film shows this move from the real to the unreal.
The two young girls are corrupted by the friendship they have for each other as it borders on obsession. However Jackson manages to make this obsession come across in a way that makes the audience very sympathetic for the two characters. Many have said that the way Jackson makes the audience so sympathetic is impressive because of the crime the characters have committed.
Others have said that, when it comes to use of dramatic landscapes, that Lord of the Ring’s is Jackson’s unquestioned masterpiece. While the trilogy of movies uses the scenery in an incredibly impressive way, so does Heavenly Creatures, and is a credit to his directing skills.
The scenery used in the film is masterfully tied in with the plot itself. The imagery used in the film is very surreal and viewers will easily see how this is related to how the characters themselves are losing grip with reality. The more they lose their grip the more absurd the imagery becomes.
The end of the movie is impressive as it really lets the viewer know how involved they have become with the characters obsessions. The shock at the end of the film is the only thing that could break the grip the characters have on the viewer.