Moviefone’s Opinion Piece: In Defense of Kristen Stewart
Moviefone posted this article about Kristen Stewart as an actress. Check it out below.
Playing an iconic character in a movie franchise that’s also a cultural phenomenon can be a proverbial blessing as well as a curse. On the plus side, portraying Bella Swan has brought Kristen Stewart fame, fortune and a (frighteningly) dedicated fan-base who thinks she can do no wrong. On the other hand, there are pockets of film-lovers who can’t stand the “Twilight” films or think Stewart is nothing more than a doe-eyed ingénue.
“Gossip Girl” star Blake Lively recently admitted: “I don’t think I’d say, watch ‘Gossip Girl’ for my best quality of work. But I am very lucky to have had that experience.” I honestly believe Stewart feels the exact same way about “The Twilight Saga.”
Because, regardless of what you think of the five “Twilight” films (or the Stephenie Meyer books on which they were based), Stewart is a fascinating young actress who deserves to be considered for much more than taking a part in a paranormal romance that just happened to be a global sensation. In fact, it’s widely known by now that the reason she even landed the Bella gig is because she appeared opposite Emile Hirsch in Sean Penn’s Academy Award-nominated drama “Into the Wild” — one of the many roles in which Kristen has proved she has more range than Bella allows her to show.
Emile was so impressed with Kristen’s performance as a sensitive 16-year-old living in a countercultural commune that when his friend (and “Lords of Dogtown” director) Catherine Hardwicke mentioned she was casting Bella, he immediately recommended Kristen. While the rest is dazzling vampire history, her standout turn in “Into the Wild” is far from her only praise-worthy role.
From her earliest role as Jodie Foster’s tomboyish daughter in “Panic Room” to more recent performances in “The Runaways,” “Adventureland” to lesser-known indies like“Welcome to the Rileys” and “The Yellow Handkerchief,” Stewart has proven she’s not just interested in another big-budget, teen-friendly film.
In the New York Times review of “Welcome to the Rileys,” in which Stewart plays a teenage prostitute, critic Manohla Dargis said of Stewart’s performance: “She’s an exceptionally appealing screen presence, and she makes Mallory’s confusion — the swings between vulgar braggadocio and clutching vulnerability — reverberant and real.”
It’s precisely that vulnerability, that authenticity, that makes her a compelling actress.
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