By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
L’Osservatore Romano reviewed the first of the Twilight movies and says the characters in this story about a lonely teen and a vampire are so radical it makes the movie seem disconnected from reality.
In a synopsis of the article by the Catholic News Agency, reporter Silvia Guida begins by questioning the reason for success of the movie, which “fascinates millions of people (not only teens, as there is also a Twilight fan club of moms).”
She says the female character, Bella Swan, who falls in love with a teen vampire named Edward, “together with the fans of the series—has been conquered by the fascination with difficult love, which is worth the risk.”
On the other hand, Edward Cullen, (played by Robert Pattin) “has the reactions and feelings of a teenager but the maturity of someone who has lived 108 years,” Guida writes. “He doesn’t choose to be good, but he changes because of the example he sees in his adoptive father, the ‘vegetarian’ vampire Carlyle . . .”
Meanwhile, in the background, the audience meets Bella’s separated parents. “Her father, Charlie, loves her but literally does not know what to say to her,” Guida writes. “Living with him means routine beer drinking, entire nights in front of the television watching sit-coms neither one of them like, eating in the car once a week, affection that is solid but unable to be transformed into real accompaniment in her life.”
Both Bella and Edward are isolated, “him because of his hidden ‘monster’ nature, her because she fakes interest in things she doesn’t care about: the cult of shopping, expectations for the prom, desperation over wanting to be in latest edition of the school magazine, chatting with her friends.”
Both of them, when they are together, “are condemned to receiving special attention: Bella knows she is risking her life; Edward, in order to accept loving her, must consent to hiding his bad side. This is the exact opposite of the ‘Just Do It’ mentality of young people.” Rather, the characters exhibit an attitude that says if they can try, “the world is there, they only need to take it.”
Reality “does not follow this law, as every fable teaches us,” Guida writes. “Cinderella knows she must leave the dance at midnight, unless she wants to see everything disappear and the carriage become a pumpkin, even seeing the enchantment of love end.”
“The question is not so much why is Twilight so successful, but rather, how can a kid watch it with indifference?” Guida wonders.
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