Judging by the breathless squeals, audible sighs, and eruptions of applause that broke out at regular intervals during a press screening of Twilight on the eve of it's much anticipated release today, there's no doubt that for young women in the grip of puberty, going to this movie is the social event of the year. And as a grown-up lady who keenly remembers what it was like to be that age, I can't help but feel a little jealous that this huge entertainment happening has been so carefully crafted particularly with these girls in mind. Read my full review after the jump:
Nothing about director Catherine Hardwicke's rendering of Melissa Rosenberg's script (based on the bestselling tween vampire series by Mormon mom Stephenie Meyer ) screams Oscar - Twilight's dialogue is unabashedly over-the-top, the sloppy paleface makeup slathered onto the film's teen vamps sometimes makes them look like baby goths experimenting with base for the first time, and the plot isn't exactly surprising. But all of these criticisms are totally beside the point. What really matters is that the deep, visceral, longing that Hardwicke elicits between her two main characters - Bella, the lonely new girl in school played by Kristen Stewart , and Edward, the eternally teenage vampire played by the impossibly beautiful Robert Pattinson - comes off as unequivocally, almost uncomfortably real. A visual feast for horny teen girls, the film's depiction of their burgeoning relationship in the mountains of Washington state, full of long, meaningful gazes, breathtaking shots of them cavorting in ancient forests, and just enough damsel-in-distress action to get the blood pumping creates an old fashioned romance feel that's been absent from mainstream cinema for quite a while. On top of all these visual elements is the plot twist that Edward's desire for Bella is so great, they can't let their sexual hijinks go too far, or in his excitement he might literally devour her. This cornerstone of their relationship renders Edward both supremely dangerous and super-safe, a perfect sex symbol for a time in young girls' lives when foreplay, in and of itself, is usually the main course, not just the appetizer. Add to that the scenes in which Edward steps into the sun, making his entire body glitter like a limited-edition My Little Pony, and you've got yourself a brand new definition of the term 'kiddie porn.'
Emily Rems is a feminist writer, editor, rock star, playwright, and occasional plus-size model living in New York’s East Village. Best known as managing editor of BUST magazine, Emily is also a music and film commentator for New York’s NPR affiliate WNYC, and is the drummer for the horror-punk band the Grasshoppers. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the anthologies Cassette from my Ex and Zinester’s Guide to NYC, and her short stories have been published in Rum Punch Press, Lumen, Prose ‘N Cons Mystery Magazine, Writing Raw, and PoemMemoirStory. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for fiction in 2015 and is working on a novel. Follow her on Twitter @emilyrems.