Heavenly Creatures has to be one of the best movies I've seen so far, especially for one that mixes fantasy with romance and horror! It is hauntingly beautiful, with jaw-dropping views of the New Zealand scenery, gorgeous colours of flowers and flowing gowns that the girls imagine, and an air of innocent first love. However, as peaceful and beautiful as it may seem at first, we are cruelly brought back down to earth with the grisly fact that this is a murder story of two girls who committed matricide. Also, that it was indeed based on a real-life story of an event that happened in 1954, which makes everything that little bit more disturbing...
Juliet Hulme is a bold, witty girl from an affluent English family, who moves to New Zealand with her parents because of her health problem, which requires her to live in a warm environment. Her parents seem nice at first, but it is obvious that she suffered from neglect throughout her life, as she reveals that she was flown to the Bahamas to recover from a disease for several months, without her parents, who were busy sorting out their own lives; plus, when she was in hospital with TB, they abandon her to go abroad!
Pauline Rieper (known as Parker in the trial) is a girl around Juliet's age, who comes from a working-class family. In my opinion she is very imaginative and courageous, but it is obvious that Juliet is the one with the brains in their relationship. At times she is saccharine sweet, and at others, absolutely sullen; a quality that shows from her expression how far she will go to get her own way.
As their parents start becoming concerned, they are advised to spend less time together, and Juliet's dad even advised Pauline's mother to take her to a child psychologist, as being gay or lesbian was considered a serious mental illness during the early 20th century. Pauline's moodiness when she was taken to the doctor's for being gay was perfect; she completely refused to speak at first, and then imagined the doctor being impaled for suggesting that she spends less time with Juliet! Naturally, I found the nasty doctor's little speech about homosexuality rather offensive, especially the way he spat it out like a dirty word, mentioning that with modern day medicine there may be a cure for it.... but I suppose it adds to the historical context; if it weren't for their parents' worry about their relationship, Pauline's mother would never have been murdered by the girls.
Over time, they grow to resent their parents, which leads to the murder of Honora Rieper. Their daydreams become more and more violent, where they remove all of the people who get in their way one by one... Pauline narrates with cryptic, yet simple, entries from her diary, which makes things even creepier... Matters are made worse when Juliet's parents tell her of their plan to divorce, and consider sending her away to South Africa to live with relatives.
When Honora bends down to pick up a pink jewel that they leave on the path as bait, they bludgeon her to death with half a brick inside a stocking, then run down the park path and scream for help. Soon afterwards they were arrested, as the police found Pauline's disturbing diary, labeled "The day of the happy event" on the day that they killed Honora.
Overall, I found this film fantastic, the ending making my heart sink drastically every time... It is very emotional, and made me cry quite frequently! This film combines all of the things I love; lesbian romance, fantasies, horror, beautiful clothes, and the 50s! The actors are phenomenal, and the soundtrack, special effects, dark humour and horror are all perfect. I would recommend this film, but only to the open minded.