Seven Minutes in Heaven

(Linda Feferman, USA, 1985)


On the production side, only Fred Roos and Zoetrope will ring a bell with cinephiles; from the cast, only Jennifer Connelly has fulfilled the promise she showed as a teenager.


But Seven Minutes in Heaven is one of many modest 1980s gems that reminds us of a brief flowering in genre-driven creativity neither mainstream nor indie – and that gave opportunities to many women to make what has turned out to be their only feature films.


Natalie (Connelly), Jeff (Byron Thames) and Polly (Maddie Corman) are ordinary young teens, not much past puberty. They argue with their parents, struggle with school assignments, and wonder about love and sex.


Director and co-writer Linda Feferman lightly disrupts the patterns of their lives in order to engineer ambiguous, exploratory, liminal moments: Jeff sleeps over at Natalie’s place after running away from home, while Polly heads off to a big city to pursue a rock star she reveres.


Nothing more momentous than a bit of kissing ever happens – and the film delivers nothing more cathartic than a smile and a group-skate.


But, like many unfairly forgotten films of its type, Seven Minutes in Heaven is at every moment charming, witty and playful.

© Adrian Martin April 2011

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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