Film / Heavenly Creatures
Tis indeed a miracle, one must feel... That two such heavenly creatures are real.

Heavenly Creatures is a 1994 film by Peter Jackson, and most notably the first film of Kate Winslet.

The story is narrated by 14-year old Pauline Rieper (Melanie Lynskey) through her Real Life diary entries from the time she meets Juliet Hulme (Winslet) to when they create their own fantasy world, to when their impending separation causes them to believe Murder Is the Best Solution to their problems.

Based on a True Story. Weird trivia note: the real Juliet Hulme later achieved international fame as best-selling mystery novelist Anne Perry.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Achey Scars: Pauline has a huge one on her leg; Juliet's are on her lungs.
  • Anti-Escapism Aesop: An incredibly creepy example.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Happens to Juliet.
  • The Cameo: The homeless guy Juliet hugs towards the beginning of the movie when she and Pauline are running out of the theater in joy is Peter Jackson.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The ring with a pink jewel in the middle that first shows up in an Imagine Spot is what the girls use to distract Honora so they can attack her.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Kate Winslet goes into this area every now and again.
  • Commonality Connection: Juliet and Pauline bond over their shared history of being Ill Girls. They are also both huge fans of the Biggles adventure series.
  • Completely Off-Topic Report: The girls are assigned to write an essay on "The Role of the Royal Family Today". Juliet writes on the royal family of Borovnia, the fantasy realm she and Pauline created. Pauline comes to her defense by pointing out the assignment never specified which royals.
  • Cure Your Gays
    Doctor Bennett: Chances are she'll grow out of it. If not... well, medical science is progressing in leaps and bounds. There could be a breakthrough at any time!
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: A variation, but when Pauline's parents are Slut-Shaming her for sleeping with Jonathan (when she actually had only cuddled with him), she retaliates by sneaking over to his house and making it official, whilst imagining she's actually in Borovnia reuniting with Diello and the rest of the royal family, including Juliet.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: When the doctor tells Pauline's mother he has diagnosed Pauline with "homosexuality," he can barely get the word out.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: John takes this to creepy levels when he climbs into Pauline's bed, then they have sex later, and then follows her train on a bike, screaming about how much he loves her.
  • The Dreaded: Orson Welles...for some reason.
    • Possibly because he had put on numerous Nightmare Fuel radio drama and stage plays, including a version of Dracula with script taken straight from the book, Orson had quite the reputation among young women in this time period. You either thought he was fascinating and sexy, or — the most hideous man alive.
  • Enfant Terrible: Prince Diello.
    Deborah: Although only ten, Diello has so far killed fifty-seven people and shows no desire to stop. It worries me, Charles!
  • Faux Documentary: The "Visit Christchurch!" film that begins the movie.
  • The '50s: The story takes place in 1954-55.
  • Gayngst: to the utmost extreme.
  • Henpecked Husband: Dr. Hulme.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Pauline thinks that Dr. Hulme is trying to help her and Juliet, when actually he's the one who is most actively working to keep them apart, while Pauline is convinced it's her mother.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Gina, a gypsy girl from Borovnia.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with a blood-spattered Pauline and Juliet screaming at passerby for help.
  • I Have Many Names: Pauline Rieper, AKA Paul (for short), Charles (role-playing), Gina (preferred name), and Yvonne (middle name/family nickname) and Pauline Parker, after it's discovered that her parents never married, and Hilary Nathan, after being released from prison; Juliet Hulme, AKA Deborah ("Debórah") as well as the alias she used after she's released from prison. Additionally, Pauline renames her lover from boring ol' John to Nicholas.
  • Ill Girl: Both girls as children, but mainly Juliet.
  • Imagine Spot: The girls imagine very violent things happening to a sanctimonious priest, a smarmy child psychologist, and their parents. Other Imagine Spots have them visiting Borovnia, and they have a spiritual vision of the Fourth World (their version of heaven).
  • In a World...: Read straight and played with in the trailer, narrated by none other than Don LaFontaine.
  • Irony: The girls concoct the scheme because they are desperate not to be separated. Only for them to be arrested immediately, sent to different prisons, and "it was a condition of their release that they never meet again".note  As far as anyone knows, they haven't.
  • Kubrick Stare: Pauline is very, very good at these.
  • Love Makes You Crazy and Evil
  • Mad Love: It even has its own banner that explodes in blood!
  • Made of Plasticine: The Borovnians. Literally.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Juliet for Paul, at least initially.
  • Mary Sue: In-universe, Empress Deborah and Gina seem to fit all the standard characteristics, especially because both are idealized versions of Juliet and Pauline, respectively.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: In Pauline's mind, the only thing standing between her and living with the Hulmes is her mother.
  • Ms. Imagination: Both Pauline and Juliet by quite a bit.
  • New Year's Resolution
  • Parental Hypocrisy: When Mrs. Rieper chews out Paulette about sleeping with John and calls her a "cheap little tart", Paulette angrily retorts that she's no better.
  • Parents as People: Despite being seen as a villain keeping her from Juliet, Pauline's mother really does seem to care about what is best for her but just doesn't know how to handle her. Pauline didn't make it easy for her.
  • Parental Neglect: Juliet's parents left her alone in hospital for five years when she was first sick. Then in the film, when she's diagnosed with tuberculosis on her lungs, her parents simply leave her behind to go on holiday.
  • Parental Obliviousness
  • Put on a Bus: How Juliet feels when her parents leave her in hospitals for her health while they go on business trips.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship
  • Psycho Schoolgirl Lesbians: They appear to be this in the movie, but Anne Perry insists it was "only" a really intense two-girl friendship. (Pauline doesn't talk to the press.) The actresses were instructed to play the girls as "devoted friends" who were just role-playing love scenes between their favorite characters.
  • Screaming Birth: Juliet enacts one as Empress Deborah giving birth to Prince Diello (a cushion). Pauline is on hand as Emperor Charles assisting the delivery.
    Charles: Deborah... we have a son — and heir.
    Deborah: I shall call him — Diello!
  • Shout-Out: The photo of Orson Welles that floats away on the river is a homage to a scene from The Third Man; one of the photos in Pauline's room is the real Juliet Hulme.
  • Shown Their Work: The entire film was shot on location in Christchurch, NZ. They even filmed where the actual murder took place. According to IMDb, it became eerily quiet when they started shooting, so they moved up a few paces until things felt comfortable. That's the actual tea shop in the park; when filming was completed, the tea shop was torn down so that it wouldn't become a Graceland.
    • Even the actual 1950's Christchurch Girls' High School was used, despite the school itself moving from the City Centre to Riccarton in 1986 and the building having become an art gallery. The building was later torn down after being damaged beyond repair in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Pauline does a great one to her mother:
    Honora: You're nothing but a cheap little tart!
    Pauline: Well I must take after you, then! (Honora slaps her) You ran off with Dad when you were only seventeen! Nana Parker told me!
    • And Dad was still married at the time!
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: While only peripherally involved in the story, short, stout, Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette Pauline has a tall, blond, glamorous-looking sister.
  • Sock It To Them: The movie ends with a murder committed with a brick in a nylon stocking.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: Borovnia.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Pauline and Juliet are fourteen and fifteen at the beginning of the film, sixteen and seventeen by the end.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted, Pauline is taken to a child psychologist who concludes she's suffering from a mental disorder called "Homosexuality".
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Diello, the young prince of Borovnia, who kills pretty much everyone who isn't his parents.
  • Title Drop: During Pauline's poem.
  • Unfortunate Names: Pauline Rieper especially after what she does to her mother.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story:
    • In Real Life, the girls' writing and "Fourth World" religion were in their trial as an Insanity Defense that was practically laughed out of court.
    • In reality, Pauline was described as glamorous by classmates; a "proud beauty", "like a gypsy". Juliet was considered a snooty Brit with a "perpetual cold" who (they thought) exaggerated her symptoms for attention.
    • The real Dr. Bennett was The Shrink, version 2, right down to testifying at length (somewhat incoherently) on the witness stand that the young women were completely bonkers. It didn't fly, his testimony was ripped to shreds by the prosecution, and Pauline and Juliet were convicted.
    • Pauline's classmates point out that the film makes Honorah much more sympathetic than she really was.
    • The "Letter from Old Stew" scene is more bunkum. Pauline was not failing English, but doing well in school and didn't want to leave. Honorah pulled her out because she felt the school was causing her to have pretentions/ambitions above her lowly working-class station. The letter, when it came, questioned Honorah's decision, and was signed not just by Miss Stewart but by Hilda Hulme, Juliet's mother, who was on the school board. Had Jackson stuck to the facts here, it would have gone a long way toward establishing Honorah's real character and Pauline's motive. Since he wanted to make Honorah nicer than she really was, the incident was rewritten to portray her as just a concerned mum.
  • Big Fancy House: Ilam, home of the Hulmes.
  • Yuri Genre: One of the more disturbing examples, really.