Ryder landed the role of Veronica Sawyer in the independent film Heathers (1988). The film, a satirical take on teenage life, revolves around Veronica, who is ultimately forced to choose between the will of society and her own heart after her boyfriend, played by Christian Slater, begins killing off popular high school students. Ryder's agent initially begged her to turn the role down, saying the film would "ruin her career". Reaction to the film was largely positive, and Ryder's performance was critically embraced, with The Washington Post stating Ryder is "Hollywood's most impressive ingénue. . . Ryder. . . makes us love her teen-age murderess, a bright, funny girl with a little Bonnie Parker in her. She is the most likable, best-drawn young adult protagonist since the sexual innocent of Gregory's Girl. " The film was a box office flop, yet achieved status as a predominant cult film. Later that year, she starred in Great Balls of Fire!, playing the 13-year-old bride (and cousin) of Jerry Lee Lewis. The film was a box office failure and received divided reviews from critics. Also in 1988, Ryder played in the film, 1969 where she played the character, Beth, the girlfriend of Kiefer Sutherland and sister of Robert Downey, Jr. —protagonists, protesters and flower children against the Vietnam War.