**/**** Image B+ Sound A- Extras B
starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli
screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
directed by Catherine Hardwicke
by Bryant Frazer Author Stephenie Meyer says she wrote her first novel, Twilight, in three months' time, after the central idea came to her in a dream. Leaving aside the question of whether the notion of a moody teen vampire love story set in and around a high school in the Pacific Northwest is remarkable enough to require that the Muses mainline it directly into your subconscious, the romance of Bella Swan, a quiet, self-abnegating high-schooler from a broken home, and Edward Cullen, a smoking-hot vampire who sparkles under sunlight and has sworn off human flesh, hit a sweet spot. Teenage girls, especially, responded en masse to Meyer's vision of a smouldering, beautiful boy with the power to end your life at any moment but the grace and restraint to keep his hands to himself. Can you tame him? These sexual politics feel retrograde--the lovestruck nymphet at the mercy of a man forever struggling to keep his carnal desires at bay--but I try to steer clear of kink-shaming. If a strange relationship makes you swoon, whether it's molded into Twilight's denial-of-desire shtick or 50 Shades' bondage spectacle, that's your business and the movies can give you a way to explore that. Disapproving thinkpieces will blossom; feminism will survive.