Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 November 18, 2011
Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) get intimate in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1"

Me and this Bella Swan need to have words.

The heroine of the melodramatic love story “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part 1,” at 18, gives up friends, family, hobbies, outside interests, college, and even life itself to be with her glittery vampire boyfriend.

He’s not that cute and he’s not that nice. She can do better.

Edward Cullen broods over her, sure, but he also makes decisions for her without consulting her. The vamp-man needs to learn how to have an adult conversation. It’s not that hard. “Bella, what do you think about…..?” See?

But even if he were joy and happiness personified, I fear a love that isolates a girl from everything she holds dear. A relationship that requires a girl to cut off friends, lie to parents, remove herself from relatives, and give up her dreams is not something to celebrate. It’s a reason to call an abuse hotline.

So I squirmed my way through “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” the adaptation of the first half of the fourth novel in Stephanie Meyer’s record-breaking series. It begins as Bella (Kristen Stewart) marries her vampire love Edward (Robert Pattinson). Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner, who really looks like a llama), who happens to be a werewolf and loves Bella with all his loyal puppy heart, can’t stand her marriage and goes howling off into the wilderness.

He returns, however, when Bella’s passionate honeymoon has left her pregnant with a vampire baby that threatens her health.

Everything is very emotional, like a good old fashioned soap opera, and Lautner takes off his shirt in the first 30 seconds, so fans should be happy. The wedding is given a lingering treatment, with the dress and the ceremony shown in loving detail. Likewise, the movie doesn’t skimp on Bella and Edward’s passionate wedding night sex.

With the sex, as with the later birth, the director had to work with the graphic source material but render it in PG-13 format so that moms would bring their teen and tween girls. The result is a bit murky. There are some naked backsides and plenty of movement in bed, but it’s reigned in and the camera strays away from anything too steamy. Likewise with the birth. Most of the action happens out of sight of the camera, which makes it hard for novices to figure out what’s happening.

Defenders of the Twilight Saga point out that it promotes chastity until marriage. Bella’s decision to continue a dangerous pregnancy to term is absolutely a pro-life statement. She even argues for her baby against some who would abort.

Laudable things, I’m sure. But they come at a high cost. Bella’s obsession with Edward may be what it feels like to fall in love, but it’s an immature and potentially dangerous relationship. In one scene, Edward doesn’t respect Bella even enough to tell her what someone said over the phone regarding her own pregnancy. He simply packs for her without explaining.

Can’t we have chastity and respect too? Is that too much to ask?


Score: D

Rating: Rated PG-13, the film was originally rated R, but modified. The source material includes passionate married sex and a bloody birth. Both are depicted, but for the PG-13 rating, most of the action happens beyond the sight of the camera lens.

Who Should See It: Only fans of the series. Think twice about teens and tweens, depending how comfortable you are with them seeing portrayal of sex and bloody violence.

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  • The final book in the series always bothered me. I thought it was just because I hated to see such a strong female character lose her way entirely for a guy. But I completely agree with you. It’s always irked me, because the relationship never really seemed like a positive one. Thanks for putting my feelings into words.

  • Brooke

    Ok, let’s address the obvious flaw here. There are four books, not three. No trilogy here. It might help if you brush up on your facts a bit, but since this is about the movies, I’ll let it slide. So it’s true, Bella sacrifices a lot for Edward. But she also gains. She gains a new family. She gains a husband and a baby. In the books, she also keeps a relationship with her father and the wolf pack post baby. That includes Emily, for some female companionship. She was long distance with her mom anyway, so no big loss there. Also, Edward tried to push her toward college, which Bella declined not because it would keep her from Edward, but that she wanted to pay her own way. She can still go.

    It bothers me that people take a synopsis of this story and villainize it. Would you villainize army wives? They frequently sacrifice jobs, families and homes for their spouses. My friend recently spent a year in Japan with her Navy husband. Is that too needy?

    I don’t think this relationship is perfect, but I don’t think it’s abusive either. It’s new, they’re learning, it will grow. I don’t think it’s brainwashing our children into throwing their lives away for love

  • Anonymous

    You’re absolutely right. I got all confused, so thanks for pointing that out. I’ve edited the review. Thanks for letting it slide.

    I object to Bella’s willingness to give up every single thing for Edward. Love should make you more, not less.

    I also object to the way Edward treats Bella. He makes decisions for her and bullies her into acceptance. I don’t know why she puts up with it. It’s portrayed in the books and movies as a good thing, but I think it’s a belittling set-up.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Derapparat

    She can do better? You’re sure? Cause Bella is not a great character either, really.

  • Rebecca Cusey

    You make an excellent point.

  • Rebecca Cusey

    Thanks for reading, Trista!