Character questions are always popular and this essay is from a Level One student on the film Heavenly Creatures. How is it shaping up?
Describe a memorable character in the text. Explain how visual and/or verbal features of the text were used to help you remember this character.
A memorable character in the film Heavenly Creatures directed by Peter Jackson is Pauline Rieper. Through costume, dialogue and her actions we are helped to remember her as a character. Pauline’s character is first shown to us by her costume. She is quite a scruffy girl who does not seem to take pride in her appearance. We can see this because her hair is a mass of rogue curls, her stockings are baggy and uniform is generally not particularly tidy. This also gives us the impression that she is not particularly well off and doesn’t really care less about school. When Juliet arrives at school Pauline is full of admiration. Juliet is everything she would like to be and she had things like status, money and a nice car she thought she deserved. Though the obvious difference in status, Pauline felt appreciated and accepted by Juliet. We see her character changing, before she had a sulky look on her face but now she can be seen smiling and laughing. Juliet understood having a childhood full of illness as she had suffered from tuberculosis and Pauline from osteomalitus. She even made it sound as though it made them better than the rest by saying ‘all the best people have bad chests and bone diseases.’ Pauline is also a memorable character because she is a very creative girl and Jackson often shows Juliet and her making clay models together and they also write the story of Borovnia together.The clay creatures are the characters and the girls themselves have the roles of some of their main characters. We see that Pauline’s life is increasingly revolving around their fictitious story because of the way the two girls relate to each other.
They call each other the names ‘Deborah’ and ‘Charles’ and later on Pauline becomes ‘Gena.’ They are less in the real world and their made up characters even make entrances into their world through their vivid imagination. Pauline is made memorable by her uniqueness. She is not held in by the restraints of society. We can see this when she openly admits, ‘we are mad. We are stark raving mad.’ She is not afraid to be different but believes ‘how sad it is for others that they cannot appreciate their genius.’
Pauline is a memorable character in Heavenly Creatures because of the unique and mystifying way she sees life. Jackson also help us to remember her character through her appearance and what she says.