Making the Grades
Bella Swan (Kristen Steward) has moved from sun-drenched Arizona to the rain-soaked coast of Washington state and seemingly lost her sunny disposition (if she ever had one) along the way. Despite the friendly overtures from her fellow students at Forks High School, Bella remains withdrawn and distant from them, as well as her estranged father Charlie (Billy Burke) with whom she now lives.
Her interest is piqued, however, when she meets her new biology lab partner. Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a pale, mysterious classmate, seems to be not only wary of her but down right repulsed during their first meeting. Rather than let the slight go, the headstrong Belle resolves to confront Edward about his reaction the next time she sees him.
Thus starts a love story that hopes to rival the magical spell cast on readers by the Harry Potter series. The premise, though, is not new. Like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the modern musical Grease, novelist Stephenie Meyer's tale of forbidden love between a mortal and a vampire is all about an unsuitable pairing, at least in the eyes of society. Edward's outsider image in the school only adds to the anguish experienced by these tortured teens as Bella discovers the dark and gruesome truth about him.
It may be the portrayal of angst that resonates with the millions of fans who've bought into the story and waited with, dare I say, bated breath for this movie's release. Yet from a parent's perspective this script is worrisome. Bella, portrayed as an independently-minded young woman, develops a dogged attraction to Edward that borders on obsession. Professing her trust in him (not to eat her) is one thing, but pushing the poor boy to the edge of his self-control is another. To maintain their budding relationship, she also lies to her parents and friends, and jeopardizes the identity of Edward's family. Though Edward refers to Bella as his own personal brand of heroin, it is she who seems to have an unhealthy addiction to the reticent vampire.
For teens determined to see their literary characters brought to the big screen, this adaptation contains only a trio or so of profanities. Showing more restraint and good sense than Bella, Edward breaks away from the pair's passionate kissing before he loses the willpower to resist her blood. Yet pushed between the lines of stammering, often stumbling dialogue are the murders of at least two residents, a near fatal car accident, bloody injuries from a hand-to-hand struggle, and the dismemberment and burning of a vampire.
While most audience members won't worry about protecting their necklines when they leave the theater, this script may still expose more dangerous attitudes about young love than most parents will care to lay bare for their kids.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Twilight.
Like many other films, plays and stories, this script is based on a pursuit of forbidden love. Why are these types of relationships often seen as an exciting alternative to the average girl or boy-next-door love story? What problems are implicitly parts of this kind of romance?
Bella continually expresses her trust in Edward. Are there, however, times when trust can be misguided? What responsibility does Bella have to help Edward stay true to his convictions? Do you think she enhances or hampers his ability to honor her faith in him?
The challenge with bringing a well-known novel to the big screen is choosing the actors. What do you like about the performers that were chosen? What do you dislike? Who would have been your choice for the parts? Do you think the screenplay did justice to the book?
Fans of Stephenie Meyer’s novels can find the complete series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) at their local library or bookstore.