Movie Review: Twilight, Love Conquers All?

Twilight Movie 2008
Twilight Movie 2008

Movie: Twilight
Featuring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke
Director: Catherine Hardwicke

“When you can live forever, what do you live for”

How about the opposite? When you know your life is finite, is anything worth living for?

The movie Twilight is another film aimed at a young audience. In it’s opening weekend it made $70.6 million making it the fourth highest opening film this year. According to exit polls, 55% of the audience were under 25 years old and 75% of the audience was female.

Twilight is a movie adaptation of a very popular book series mostly read by young female teenagers. It is a love story about a male vampire and a normal girl.

On the surface this is a love story between a vampire and a high school girl that seems to carry a pro-abstinence message and so many parents are focusing on this portion claiming that it’s a great story with a good message. However there are many other themes that are often going unnoticed.

“Chief among these is that old, dangerous idea that a “bad boy” can easily be won and tamed by a “good girl”—an idea that has brought heartache to untold millions of good girls. As a Christian, I obviously believe that redemption and change is possible for sinners. But I also know that human beings alone cannot change each other.

So when you’re talking to your daughter about Twilight, here are a few points you might touch on.

It is not romantic, or safe, when a boy spies on you, follows you, and sneaks into your room without your knowledge (and especially without your parents’ knowledge).

It is not romantic, or safe, when someone tells you he’s dangerous and he’s killed people, to give answers like, “It doesn’t matter,” and, “I’m not afraid.” Again, I’ve worked with repentant murderers in prison. I know firsthand that redemption is possible for them. But that doesn’t mean that what they’ve done doesn’t matter.

It is not romantic, or safe, to try to see how close you and your boyfriend can get to the edge of danger without going over.

And it is not romantic, or safe, to offer yourself up for a boy to do whatever he wants to you—symbolized in the movie by the young heroine asking the vampire to bite her so she can become like him.” – Breakpoint

It really does say a lot about our culture when parents have to argue with their young daughters that dating a dangerous killer is not a good role model to follow, even if they are being careful and even abstinent.

As mentioned above, the vampire Edward has really disturbing habits like sneaking into Bella’s room, watching her sleep, spying on her conversations, telling her to lie to her father and even kidnapping her! Is this really something romantic or would the guy be arrested for stalking and kidnapping in real life? The fact that all of it is painted in the romantic angle could really instill the wrong type of notions of what love should look like.

Also the girl, Bella, is very low in self-confidence putting herself down throughout the movie while lifting her boyfriend as someone higher often mentioning him as like a “god” or “angel”. She sees her humanness to be a weakness and wishes to just be a vampire.

This is clearly a very unhealthy relationship in all counts, yet it’s been lifted as an example of a great modern day love story. A girl willing to throw away family, friends, identity for a guy who stalks her, even abuses her. Anything for love? Love conquers all? Love is worth it? Sound familiar?

The sexual content is minimal, with only two kissing scenes and even a scene when it starts to get more serious, the main protagonist backs off. That is great, but what goes unnoticed is the fact that in such scenes and many other scenes, the young couple are always alone in a room. Watching such scenes constantly makes a young couple being in a bedroom together seem “not too bad” as long as nothing happens, but it is precisely that situation that brings the temptation to begin with.

Just to be clear, many have said this is a very clean movie especially considering that the movie could have been made a lot more violent and explicit. The movie itself has been praised by many for being very clean without cursing, without sex scenes, and with mild violences. However I still believe it is the underlying picture that a film paints and the subtle emotions that is brought by the words and actions of the characters that has the most impact on it’s viewers especially when the film is targeting a very young impressionable demographic. And so what you have read is a small compilation from the message angle. Hope it helped!

and the media bus continues…
Saw Twilight? Know something about Twilight? Comment below.

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  1. I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, but I hear about it in passing a lot so I looked up reviews on it and was pretty dismayed by the messages it seemed to promote. Soon afterward I found out one of the fifth grade girls I teach is reading it and it makes me worried to think that this is what so many girls are reading at such an impressionable young age.

  2. I kinda agree with Sue (December 17th). I’m fifteen years old and am in year 10 (Australia) and I have read all the Twilight books and seen Twilight the movie. I agree with Sue in that I do not think it is suitable for girls under the age of 13 to be reading or seeing Twilight – girls (I say girls because there are hardly any boys out there who read the books) who, like Sue said, are in the fifth grade (which I presume, in America, is around the age of 11??) are too young to understand the emotions and feelings that Bella has for Edward and vice versa. And New Moon is particularly depressing, which I don’t think is suitable for fifth grade girls.

    My friends, who are the same age as me and who have also read the books, and I loved the story. SPOILER ALERT: Most of the time you don’t even notice that Edward and the Cullens are vampires because they are good and, from what I’ve read, are mostly repentant for the murders that they have committed (only because that’s the natural instinct of vampires – to kill). Edward’s father Carlisle has instilled in all the Cullens a respect for human life. Carlisle’s father was a priest in the Medieval era if I remember correctly, and this is where Carlisle gets his belief from. Carlisle believes that by being “good” vampires by trying not to hurt anyone, but instead help save people’s lives (Carlisle’s a doctor), maybe there is a chance for vampires if their time comes to an end (vampires can be killed but in very rare circumstances). Anyway, Edward would do anything to be human again so that he couldn’t hurt Bella or anyone else for that matter. He sees himself as being pathetic and dangerous and filthy (for being a killer), but, by Bella believing that he won’t hurt her and believing that he is stronger and can overcome his natural instincts, Edward comes alive and starts to believe in himself again too. Okay, sneaking into Bella’s room and spying on her may sound a little freaky, but because of him being protective, he saves her from stalkers and from getting killed (not only from other sadistic vampires.) I don’t think edward is a “bad boy”. He has always been charming and polite – it is only his vampire traits that make him dangerous.

    The main element in these books is LOVE. How true love can withstand (for want of a better word) anything. It is Edward’s genuine love for Bella and Bella’s love for Edward (although I must admit, sometimes it’s like an obsession) that makes him seem more human than vampire.

    My favourite thing about the whole story though is the message of abstinence. In this day and age, lots of young people (even people my age) are experimenting with sex. But it’s not only because he is a vampire that Edward doesn’t want to “go too far” with Bella, but Edward is a true gentlemen (he was born in 1901, if I remember correctly). SPOILER ALERT: In book 3, Bella wants to have sex with Edward but Edward says no, not only because he could hurt her (his vampire instincts could take over him and he could lose control), but because he doesn’t want to “steal” her virginity and innocence from her. He says that he will only have sex with her, on the condition that they get married first. Now, that’s what I call true love and respect. That is what I love about Edward – he is a true gentlemen, who will wait until marriage to get his sexual pleasure. Now, no offense, but there are not many young men who will do that in this day and age, are there?

    Wow, I’ve written heaps!! Hope this clears it up for some people out there who are hesitant to take their children to see the movie or read the books. But, before I go, I must also admit that the movie is more sexually inclined than the book. In the book, I don’t even remember them even doing any passionate kissing scenes like that one in the movie.

  3. Appreciate the feedback Sue & Edward. Thanks Edwards for the mini-review! This twilight blog entry has gotten a lot of activity. There definitely seems to be a lot of interest in the “abstinence message” as well as the pros and cons of what the twilight portrays as true love.

  4. seems likely that they will come out with a Twilight sequel pretty soon, there’s a crazy lot of ticket sales at stake

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