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 Despite the friendly overtures from her fellow students at Forks High School, Bella remains withdrawn and distant from them, as well as her estranged father Charlie (Billy Burke) with whom she now lives.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.