A teen romance dressed up as a vampire movie, Twilight has become both a literary (the four novels by Stephenie Meyer) and cinematic phenomenon. It is, of course, the story of young, awkward Bella (Stewart), who goes to live with her dad, the sheriff of Forks in Washington State, and discovers when she gets there that there is a brooding, pasty-faced dreamboat named Edward (Pattinson) in her new school who sets her heart aflutter. He seems to avoid her, however, until the day Bella is nearly crushed by a truck and he dashes in front of it and stops it with his hand. Hmmm. How come he’s super strong and super speedy? Why doesn’t he eat anything in the school cafeteria? And why is he never at school when it’s sunny?
Yep, Edward – and his ‘family’, including perky Alice (Ashley Greene) and pouting Rosalie (Nikki Reed) – is a vampire, but one who only drinks the blood of cute deer rather than humans. Soon he and Bella are exchanging moody glances, as there’s not much else they can do without Edward’s fangs making an appearance, and falling in love. Meanwhile, his family debate whether to accept Bella, and an evil vampire trio led by red-headed Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre), pop up to make things more interesting.
Fans of the novels were divided about the casting of then-unknown Brit Robert Pattinson when it was first announced, but soon came to accept him (and, unfortunately for Pattinson, occasionally stalk him, too). He suits the role of the conflicted, devoted Edward, and manages to carry off even the most clunky bits of dialogue convincingly (and there are some very clunky bits, as there were in the book). Stewart, meanwhile, has a harder task as Bella, as the character gets more annoying as the series of books/movies progress, but she strikes the right balance here between devoted and obsessed. The direction, meanwhile, from Catherine Hardwicke, isn’t anything special (and the ‘glittering’ effect of Edward in sunlight is, frankly, rubbish), but it doesn’t detract from the central love story that will draw the mushy of heart into the film from the first frame.
Men may scratch their heads (and wish they were watching Dracula or True Blood), but girls looking for a tortured love story, peppered with some toothy action, will love this dark romance.
Is Twilight suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a vampire movie! Actually, for most of the running time nothing scary happens, but younger viewers (do note this is a 12 certificate) may be scared when Bella is attacked by vicious vampire James towards the end.