I've had it with your anti-Kstew whining
Who's saying what
Based on this trailer I remain cautiously optimistic that Salles and his cast will manage to keep the spirit of the book (which is one of my favourites) intact.
Predictably, however, much online discussion of the trailer centred on the presence of Kristen Stewart.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
As a long-time fan of Stewart, like, since Panic Room, this apparent Pavlovian response (see Kristen Stewart = whinge) is wearing mighty thin. So, in the interest of making sour-faced internet "critics" look dumb, let's explore some the three most common arguments used by the anti-Kristen Stewart brigade.
1. "Twilight sucks"
It sure does! However, let's think a little more deeply about that for a moment: do you not think that it might be because a) the source material is dreadful, b) the screenplay is slack and c) the direction is listless? Stewart is doing the best she can with some of the worst material imaginable; the witless fanfic ramblings of a bored Mormon housewife who had a wet dream about a sparkly vampire.
Kristen Stewart's face after receiving her shooting script for Breaking Dawn Pt. 2
Bella Swan is so unlike any real human (excepting the ones who've since modelled themselves on the character) it'd be nearly impossible for any actor to turn her into a likable screen presence. The fact that Stewart makes Bella even remotely watchable is a credit to her skills. Which leads us to point #2...
2. "She can't act"
Well this is just patently untrue. I'm going to throw to The Village Voice's Karina Longworth for a moment here, whose review of The Runaways (from which this is excerpted, my favourite bit bolded) helped me to articulate my own feelings about Stewart's screen presence: "Jett's unique blend of allure and threat, apathy and determination, gets a mumbling hyper-naturalized take from Stewart—more Brando than Bella Swan. Her performance is largely internal—risky, considering that the built-in audience that probably made the Twilight star appealing to producers might not know what to make of the actress playing a character with so much going on in her head."
I'm not sure how anyone could come away from Into The Wild, Adventureland or The Runaways (I haven't seen Welcome To The Rileys, though Roger Ebert reacted to the Sundance screening with an amazed "Who knew she had these notes? I'm discovering an important new actress") and still be of the opinion that Kristen Stewart can't act. I think the truth of the matter has a lot to do with what Longworth's critique suggests: Stewart's presence is closer to Brando or James Dean or a young Shelley Winters than any of her "mod'ren" peers. Her chin-to-chest, introspective style is more mumblecore than MTV. But does that mean she can't act? No, stupid.
3. "She never smiles on the red carpet"
So? Would you? This year while watching the Golden Globes via a live stream, for the first time I heard what the red carpet sounds like without Richard Wilkins talking shit over Hooray For Hollywood or I Gotta Feeling: it's terrifying! I actually made a recording of it because it was so hideous (unfortunately I missed the photographer who yelled at an elderly woman for being an "IDIOT!!!"). So, with that sound explosion in mind, you imagine having to endure it and smile breezily like being shouted at by asshole paps is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you? As she said in ELLE Magazine a few years back, “People say that I’m miserable all the time. It’s not that I’m miserable, it’s just that somebody’s yelling at me…I literally, sometimes, have to keep myself from crying…It’s a physical reaction to the energy that’s thrown at you.”
Furthermore, telling women to smile is just another form of body-policing. Deeply-Problematic wrote a fantastic piece on the topic back in 2010: "When she appears on the red carpet and does not assure us with her teeth that she is simply thrilled to be reduced to a presence, a dress, a posture, she is often the target of harassment for her expression. There is an expectation of women in general and famous woman in particular to always assure the onlooker that they are happy to be looked upon through smiling, and Stewart rejects this. Her expression is an affront to the patriarchy, it seems. Stewart’s expressions do not go unnoticed among those who write about celebrities."
So, with all that in mind, I'd like to leave the final word to Stewart herself:
See? She does so smile on the red carpet. Thank you, that is all.
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