Before he spent the better part of the 2000s transforming New Zealand into Middle Earth, Peter Jackson created the dream kingdom of Borovnia, the fantasy escape world of a pair of schoolgirl killers in his beguiling, romantic, and unsettling HEAVENLY CREATURES.
Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet made their brilliant screen debuts as Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, the lovelorn Christchurch teens who in 1954 were convicted of the murder of Parker’s mother. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, HEAVENLY CREATURES resonates as a ‘90s queer cult classic about gay panic begetting a counter-cultural swing against the repressive violence of 1950s conservative parenting.
Jackson and longtime partner Fran Walsh take a sympathetic approach to the sensational and gendered true crime story, envisioning the girls’ relationship as a gothic twist on the all-encompassing imaginative friendships of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. They wring incredible performances out of their young leads. Lynskey riffs off Winslet’s sunny Brit energy with the sullen, scowling intensity of a proto-goth, making their killer union a work of both destruction and creation.
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