Michael Lehmann
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Heathers , 7/10
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Michael Lehmann

Heathers (1989) is an exercise in teenage horror that came to represent the mood of a generation of angry, alienated, middle-class kids. The very manner the film is directed betrays despite for the establishment and for the adults, who are portrayed either as comic idiots or as satanic maniacs.

Three girls play golf and one of them sends the ball into the target, that happens to be Veronica's head, planted in the grass. Veronica is writing in her diary, sitting on the steps of the school, when the three girls approach her. They are all named Heather and enjoy torturing others, especially the weakest and most vulnerable. Veronica doesn't like them, but keeps silent. The girls live in a small town and their life is centered around high school. Veronica has two kind welathy parents and lives in a nice house. There is nothing she misses.
One day Veronica meets Jason. Jason represents something else: he rides a motorcycle and likes to be alone. And one day shoots (with blanks) two schoolmates and gets expelled. And talks like a philosopher.
We learn the disaffection and frustration that grow in Veronica's mind because she writes about them to her diary. Her writing is almost furious. She's not only disgusted by society, she's disgusted by the Heathers (who probably embody society's characters) and she's disgusted with her own weakness. When she finally rebels against the Heathers, one of the Heathers swears to destroy her reputation. That night Jason comes to visit her from the window of her room and they make love. Veronica keeps their affair a secret, because it would expose her weakness.
Fed up with their reign of terror, Veronica is intrigued when Jason suggests half-jokingly that they poison her persecutor. Veronica is shocked, but accepts Jason's suggestion to write a suicide note. The police believes it and the murder is filed as suicide.
The funeral of the suicide is a showcase of collective hypochrisy and indifference.
Jason is getting weirder and scarier. When Veronica wants to take revenge against two guys who have boasted of having sex with her, Jason turns the practical joke into a bloody double murder. And Veronica is the one who pulls the second time.
Veronica slowly realizes that he is a dangerous psychopath, and that he is a master of mind manipulation, but she can't rebel.
Suicide is becoming popular in the school and a fat girl crosses a busy street to get run over, wearing a suicide note on her shirt.
One Heather has a crisis and calls a radio station. Veronica and the other Heather hear her, and naturally the other Heather tells everybody, thereby destroying the reputation and the morale of the weak Heather. The strong Heather, manipulated by Jason, is more confident than ever and runs for leader of the school, using every trick she knows. When Veronica learns that Jason is behind the scam, Veronica understands that he wants to destroy the school.
When she comes home, her parents try pathetically to lecture her against suicide but she walks straight into her room, proving to them how powerless they are.
Veronica dreams that Jason enters her room and forces her to write another suicide note. Veronica dreams of yet another funeral.
When she wakes up, she decides to fight back. So when Jason really comes to visit her, he finds her hanging from the roof. He talks to the dead body and so Veronica learns that he came to kill her and that he's planning a bomb at the school meeting.
Veronica runs to the school with a gun and finds him in the basement. Veronica shoots him after a fight but he still won't switch off the bomb. She has to kill him after hearing another sermon on society and then she can finally deactivate the bomb. She walks out dirty and bleeding while students are celebrating, smokes a cigarette and greets the surviving Heather with a smile.
Veronica is the movie's conscience. The coward anarchist is actually the hero who has figured out their future and simply does not want to live it, and wants to save everybody, like Jesus, from committing that sin. Veronica's parents are good example of what will happen to the kids if they live their life. They are simply not alive. The film proves that Jason's theory is rational, but Veronica is the moral conscience that prevails over rationality. The bitter premise, that is illustrated throughout the film, turns into a happy ending of sort, with the death of the evil spirit and the redemption of the sweet innocent. But it all sounds satirical.
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