As a fully invested fangirl, I couldn’t help but have mixed emotions when I heard they were making a Twilight movie. The unique quality of these books is that they draw you in so completely that as I have read them, I’ve gone through the motions of love and heartbreak emotionally, and that is an effect no movie can truly give no matter the quality.
Setting aside my caution, I finally dragged myself to the theatre on a bitterly cold weekend, in order to (hopefully) warm up with to this “chick flick”. Being somewhat biased in favor of the story I desperately want to give this film high marks, but the best I can give is – they did exceptionally well on such a tight budget.
From the start, the character of Bella Swan is self-sacrificing, packing up and moving herself from Phoenix, AZ to the small town of Forks, Washington to live with her dad, Charlie, so that her mother can start fresh with her new husband. Bella and her father prove to be essentially strangers living in the same house; their relationship is consistently well-acted and dead-on with the portrayal in the book. Charlie is the endearingly awkward backwoods dad, unsure of how to handle a teenage daughter, and often feigning gruffness when he cares deeply for her.
As someone uniquely qualified (I grew up near Forks in Port Angeles – the town where they go prom-dress-shopping in the movie) to assess the environment, they did an unbelievable job of capturing the area right down to the wooden carved bears and log trucks, and the endless long shots of northwestern beauty is one of the highest points of the film. Bella’s first day at the High School had me doing a double take, wondering if that was the actual Forks High School. From her first day in school, Bella meets the usual characters – the popular kids Mike and Jessica, the overachieving, slightly geeky Eric and Angela, and finally the mysterious Cullen family.