New Zealand film, Heavenly Creatures(1994), directed by Peter Jackson is about two teenage girls Pauline and Juliet who murder one of their mothers. The tale of the best friends turned lovers and murders is based on events that happened in 1950’s New Zealand. The screenwriters Frans Walsh and Peter Jackson based the film on the diary of Pauline Parker. In the film, Pauline and Juliet are driven to murder by conservative society. The two girls are unable to properly communicate their love so they must find other ways to do so by delving into their own imaginary world outside of the heteronormative world.
Heavenly Creatures have different modes of communication that allows them to exist in a queer space. Pauline and Juliet’s alternative language is their story about the magical kingdom. In the scene after Pauline learns that Juliet has tuberculosis and will be isolated, this new mode of communication emerges. The two girls write to each other as the King and Queen of their make believe kingdom of Borovina. Through these letters, they act as a heterosexual married couple; the girls finally can express their same sex romantic attraction. The murdering son that they create in Borovina is an expression of Juliet’s desire to free her self from heteronormative society. Pauline uses the love letters to voice that normative family life no longer fulfills her.
I would recommend the early Peter Jackson film to my readers who are interested in alternative modes of communication, lesbian romance, subversive heteronormative society, New Zealand Cinema, horror stories, and films about constricted women exploding in the 1950’s.
Please check out Heavenly Creatures! If you have seen the film please tell me what you think about what I wrote.