1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Heavenly Creatures [DVD]  (DVD)
Before I watched the film, I hadn't heard about the apparently famous 'Parker-Hulme' murder case, and I think in many ways this helped me to better appreciate the film. If you haven't heard about the case, I recommend you don't read up on it until you've watched the film, or it may not have quite the same impact.
The story is about two intelligent and passionate girls, Julie and Pauline, forming an intense friendship, and the film beautifully depicts their delirious psycho-imaginative flights of fantasy together, contrasted with the stoic, staid reality of their historical and geographical background - 1950's Australia. As parental figures and other authorities seek to keep them apart, through concern about their growing obsession with one another, so their fantasies react by growing wilder and more vivid; distorting their view and comprehension of reality. This in turn leads them to chilling actions in the real world, the consequences of which are lost to them.
Anyway, the story is mesmerising, and several of the motifs and imaginative journeys tantalisingly recall my own forays into fantasy at such an age, if not as extreme as those of the girls!
I loved the film, and I disagree with some reviewers who complain about Peter Jackson's 'campy excesses'. I found no such thing, and thought the whole film to be instantly engaging and well put together, with great performances from Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet, as well as Sarah Peirse who provided the excellent counter-perspective of the worried mother.
One thing that struck me was that the repression of anything non-standard peculiar to those times was a significant part in the development of the shared psychoses of the girls. It is with more than a little ironic that Julie's psychologist's non-flexible approach to 'normality' actually pushes her deeper into fantasy as a result, and this is poignantly marked out in the film.
So, in conclusion I think this is a fantastic film which gives not just insights into the Parker-Holmes murder case, but also into the mind of every imaginative, cramped adolescent.