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Imperial Valley News Twilight Review

November 27, 2008

source: Imperial Valley News

Twilight – Film Review by Lisa Miller
Written by Lisa Miller
Monday, 24 November 2008
Hollywood, California – Twilight – Film Review by Lisa Miller (2008) Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli and Ashley Greene, Billy Burke, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli, Cam Gigandet, Taylor Lautner, Anna Kendrick, Michael Welch, Justin Chon – Summit Entertainment/Rated PG-13/Horror/122 min.Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight Series” understands the nature of longing. Wanting what is forbidden not only defines us, but is especially ascendant in young teenagers with an eye on approaching adulthood, tantalizingly out of reach.Director Catherine Hardwicke gets it. She captures the passionate, gothic romance that rocks Bella’s world and that of Meyer’s young readers. Set against the rain-drenched forests of Fork, Washington, Bella’s steamy emotions hang over the landscape as if they are an essential component of the omnipresent mist.

Having recently arrived to live with her father, Bella (Stewart) is an intensely private sort. She appreciates her father’s taciturn way, grateful “he doesn’t hover.” Bella’s penetrating eyes reveal her to be a truth seeker. When asked to give an interview for the high school paper Bella declines, “I’m more the suffer-in-silence type.” These qualities contribute to her immediate adoption by a handful of smart kids. She joins the group, but holds herself apart.

The bubble of Bella’s self-imposed solitude bursts the moment Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) strides into frame. Though Pattinson’s tiny nose floats mid-face, this odd-duck dreamboat prompted the teen girls (comprising 70 percent of the audience), to erupt in an audible burst of approval. Soon, he and Bella are all furtive glances and sighs.

A teasing dance begins. Edward saves Bella’s life using his incredible strength and speed only to avoid her questions and pleading eyes. She awakens from dreams, imagining (or not), he is watching over her in her room. Once again Edward saves her from harm, admitting he can no longer stay away. They go out to dinner, but he neither eats nor drinks. She brushes his hand – it’s ice cold! What the?

On a rare sunny day neither Edward, nor his brother and two sisters attend school. With a little help from local Indian folklore and Google, Bella slowly unravels Edward’s secret. He’s a (gulp!) vampire. Forget nightwalkers. Edward’s reason for staying out of the sun defies existing undead folklore. Though he contends Bella will be repulsed, Edward is determined she know all. Her journey up the mountain and into the sunlight is a thrilling ride, piggyback style, with Edward leaping and running at big cat speed. He is breathtaking and Bella is entranced. Teen girls seem to agree, though I felt let down by this inorganic plot twist and a missing explanation that might have persuaded me to buy it.

As in any great romance, there are obstacles. Edward can’t allow himself to become overly amorous lest his bloodlust take over. His clan, subsisting on wild animal blood, has mixed feelings about Bella, but most importantly, a trio of gypsy vampires – of the human-blood-sucking sort – seek to establish dominance by making Bella their next victim.

This last bit leads to the film’s only action sequence, a concession to those few males willing to brave all the gothic heaving. Otherwise, Hardwicke’s camera circles and circles her star-crossed lovers as though no other characters, indeed nothing else at all, exists. Few recent films depend on so many close-ups to convey an intense sense of longing.

Though Edward’s rules promise to keep their romance chaste, Meyer, and her surrogate Hardwicke, know precisely how to cradle the dreams of young girls in the bosoms of a self-sacrificing hero and an independent-minded heroine. Let the sighing begin.

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