The actors playing Mike and Jessica are definitely standouts that I expect to see in the future; they both played up their teen characters realistically and age appropriately, as is so rarely done. Though she doesn’t directly meet the Cullens her first day, everyone has something to say about them in whispers when she asks who they are.
After an extremely confusing scene in Biology class, she becomes more intrigued with the elegant Edward Cullen, and begins stealing glances and asking questions. Finally their paths collide, literally, when Edward jumps in front of Bella to stop a reckless van in the school parking lot, raising even more questions about him. Amazingly, Bella still takes awhile (painfully long, in fact) to piece together what Edward’s pale skin, unbelievable speed, and inhuman strength all mean… he’s a vampire. This instant of interaction sets them on an immediate course to falling head-over-heels for each other, despite both of their better judgments.
As someone with my heart wrapped up in the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it; however I would probably not recommend it to someone not interested in the books. The fault lies in many places, primarily with the tiny budget and screenwriting. Kristen Stewart (Bella) and Robert Pattinson (Edward) did an excellent job of giving us an on screen portrayal of the palpable tension between to two characters; the build-up to the single on screen kiss between the two is practically explosive. That said, the conflicted nature of their love in which Edward is perpetually protecting Bella from himself, was so badly written, it pretty much consisted of him repeatedly and awkwardly saying they couldn’t be friends, unlike the anguished restraint portrayed in the book. The quivering and stuttering between the two got a little excessive, as did Bella’s open-mouthed stare, but ultimately it got the point across (albeit a bit crudely).