Twilight, a wonderful depiction of a love story between different species, with a splendid dramatic flair to it and a plot infused with elements of mythology that leave the viewer truly bewildered. Director to “Twilight” Catherine Hardwicke has displayed her excellent skills in the Twilight saga, following the story based on adolescent love of a pretty young teen with a nice nature being in love with a handsome looking vampire who studies in the same class as her. The story unravels with each new addition to the series and takes the viewer through the twists and turns of the love affair between the two young lovers and their struggle in keeping their relationship.
Bella, a pale young girl, currently living life with her divorced mother in Phoenix, Arizona proposes to move in with her father after her mother decides to get remarried. Her move to Forks, Washington, to live with her father feels like an exile to her and seems overall uncomfortable with it. To her, it seems as if things have come to a halt and no chance of life getting better, at this point. Living her life mostly in Arizona, makes her hate the cold and rainy weather of Fork. Relationship with her Father seems to be a little shaky as well and being a high school junior but having to start over makes her feel uncertain about everything around her. However, things turn out to be different and better than she anticipates till her run-in with Edward Cullen. Being next to him in the class, gets her nervous since her encounter with Edward, although for a brief moment, mostly consists of him staring at her. Although she finds him quite attractive and decides to work out her problems and get the confidence to approach him for a conversation.
Bella’s determination is unwavering even when she discovers that he’s a blood-drinking vampire. She is found to be repeating the phrase “You don’t scare me” throughout her encounters with Edward when he demonstrates his vampire nature. It almost seems as if this phrase is to encourage and reassure herself. Edward has been seen to display a portion of his vampire abilities when he saves Bella from the van that skids and are about to crush the very life out of her (Bode 2010). Bella’s resolve is tested again after she finds out that Edwards only resistance to the thought of killing her is his love for her. The meeting with the family goes a little unexpected since the Cullen’s have trained themselves to be vegetarians from a vampire’s standard. Vegetarian refers to their continued practice of preferring animal blood over human blood. Bella eventually comes to realize after the meeting that she’s been marked as an endgame to eternal life by a tracker vampire, but her love for Edward remains strong and is worthy of all the risks in their relationship. The love relationship and the enduring the risk summarizes the true essence of Twilight series.
Twilight’s Positive Elements
Family plays a big part, and the true meaning to family values is depicted in Twilight, exhibiting the love between vampires to look out for each other. The coven in which Edward belongs is made up of people who took the decision of turning to vampirism but were in need of a haven, a place they could trust. It is evident from their commitment of protecting each other in the family, with the inclusion of Bella when she becomes a part of the family. Bella’s family, even with their differences, still show a unified stance towards problems through their acts of selflessness. It was visible from her father’s warm gesture of welcoming her with open arms when she first arrives. Bella responds to this by shaking her father’s hand, but an expression of being uncertain and a little reserved are visible on her face. However, Bella’s seen protective of her father in trying to keep him safe after everything she goes through and the hardship she faces. Her selfless nature is again made evident when she willingly offers herself to save her mother’s life when she mentions “Dying in the place of someone I loved seemed like a good way to go.”
Twilight’s perspective from Spiritual Content
If for a moment the thought of vampires truly existing in our world and this fantasy setting being real with the exception of these mythical beings having the capability of making moral choices. Then from this perspective, the choice of not attacking, thirsting for human blood and killing them eventually is relevantly good and makes the Cullen’s ideal family be living among humans. Edward explains this to Bella by mentioning their struggle, acceptance and eventual sustenance was being met by living off of animal blood. However, instead of finding herself to be grateful for Edward’s intention not being that of killing her after they fall in love, she is found to be intervening him by calling them good vampires who have given up the ways of evil.
This expression of Bella in comparison can be exemplified through the example of Christian calling that relates to the notion of abandoning the old man of sin and embracing a new one in his place. This example explains the practice of walking a narrow and straight path, seemingly easy, can be harder to walk. Although Bella seems to be categorizing the Cullen family to be good, Edward considers himself and all other vampires to be forever damned by this curse and is in opposition of letting Bella become one of them. He dislikes the notion of her becoming cold even if that means that she will live an eternal life as his lover.
Sexual Content in Twilight
From an original concept present in the movie, there are portions provide the viewers with the depiction of body intimidation and sexual interactions. In one of the clips, Edward seems to be pulling himself away from Bella after their short and brief kiss. It is as if he is unsure of himself if this moment continued. His action of disengaging himself from the kiss could be evidence of two things, one being his resistance towards killing her and secondly based on the doubtful nature of things after he informs her of his habit of sneaking through her window and watching her sleep. Apart from this one clip, Bella has been wearing clothes in school that shows more of her than what girls in schools normally show, in this reference their cleavage.
Numerous sexual related content is found in their dialogue as well. One of these moments is when Edward (with his ability to read minds) tells Bella about what people in the restaurant are thinking about. He mentions “sex, money, sex, and cat.” This gets Bella very excited at the mention of knowing what people are secretly thinking about.
Violent Content in Twilight
Twilight series is filled with a relatively considerable amount of violence, blood, and gore. Numerous vampire clashes occur from time to time, between Cullen family and the opposing coven formed to establish justice through the vampire clans. Except for this a slight preview of Carlisle transforming Edward into a vampire by biting into the side of his neck. Although a good one is when Bella comes across a Tracker vampire and gets her hand slashed in fight with that vampire, ending with him biting Bella. Jasper, Alice, and Edward finish off the tracker vampire by nearly twisting his head off of his shoulder before burning his body (Farina 2010). This too is shown completely on screen for the viewers to establish the necessity for the fights intensity.
Regarding violence, viewers are also shown a brief scene of Bella being flung off through the room, crashing into a mirror and then getting her leg broken as the tracker vampire steps on it forcefully. The movie also displays Edwards fight with the second tracker, who gets torn apart by him in a savage manner and overall displays the brawl between these vampires as they jump and break through walls.
A subtle form of violence is also shown when Bella searches up “cold ones” to investigate further into it. The images which the viewers can see, from a shoulder view perspective shows a glimpse of bloody, gore-filled vampire illustrations. These drawings show the dark and evil side of the vampire race, letting the viewer examine each picture and the horrors associated with it. The movie does not merely stop with this and display a brief clip where Edward attempts to save Bella’s life by sucking the venom out of her bloodstream, which was previously injected by the tracker vampire (Wardani 2010). For fans that admire a fair share of violence in a movie, Twilight brings them more than they ask for and suffices their need pretty nicely.
Overall the movie is quite nicely done, and the book adaption is pretty spot on. However, the movie brings about a deeper meaning than the one shown on screen and leaves the viewer thinking and wanting for more.
Bode, Lisa. “Transitional tastes: Teen girls and genre in the critical reception of Twilight.” Continuum 24.5 (2010): 707-719.
Farina, Fadil. PERSONALITY OF BELLA IN TWILIGHT MOVIE DIRECTED BY CATHERINE HARDWICKE 2008: A PSYCHOANALYTIC APPROACH. Diss. Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta, 2010.
WARDANI, LUCI HENING. A struggle for love of Isabella Swan in Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight movie: An individual psychological approach. Diss. Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta, 2010.