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January 1995, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 21 Jan 1995 11:02:09 CST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
In response to Bridget's post on HEAVENLY CREATURES:
I thought your comments were dead-on.  The opening of an interior world
(or set of worlds) was just one of the film's interesting features. I agree
with your comments about the depiction of the girls' emerging sexuality
and how their actions are really an acting out of somewhat typical
adolescent fantasies.  Some (thought not all, by any means) of the reviews
of I've seen (usually in "alternative" publications) suggest that the
girls are trapped in stifling society (which is somewhat true, as you suggest
--but small-city Connecticut in the 1950s was nearly as boring and
straight-laced as Christchurch).  But, as you say, there would be a lot of
bodies around if we all reacted in the way the girls did.  I think there's
a kind of chemistry between the two that turns toxic due to the combination
of fantasy, resentment, and parental repression that is at the heart of
their world.  One of the reviewers found the mother who is killed "strangely
sympathetic," but I didn't think there was anything strange about her at
all.  She's an intelligent woman trapped by some choices and circumstances
that she doesn't want her own daughter to repeat, the most genuinely loving
of all the parents, but she is the one who pays.  The murder itself reminds
me of Hitchcock's dictum that it can be very hard to kill a person--it adds
to the horror of the scene.  The horror, though, is also leavened by a lot
of humor (I was especially tickled by the iconic use of Orson Welles).
I suspect those reviewers who found the girls to be striking some sort of
guerilla attack for freedom are playing off their own experience, rather
than looking at the film itself.
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN