It seems too easy to bash this girl; everyone seems to be jumping on board. In fact, it has become a meme to find things with more facial expressions than Kristen Stewart. Her sparkly companion, Robert Pattinson, receives criticism too but less for reasons that are unknown – perhaps it’s because of how openly he bashes the franchise or because he’s in Harry Potter or people have seen other outings of his and are basing their opinions on more than one film. What is hard to understand is why this criticism of Kristen Stewart is so commonplace, so ordinary, so definite, when it is blatantly, blatantly so wrong. You may disagree right now but think of it without being biased and how awful, awful the Twilight franchise is, think about her other performances, can you see what there is actually to see, her talent?
The animosity that is directed towards her has been cemented as if it’s some sort of fact when if anything it’s popular misconception and ignorance. We all know that the Twilight incarnation is an awful thing that is an insult to anyone and everyone who has seen, or worse, read them and it’s become a bashing topic as did Kristen Stewart. There’s no point in arguing here, she’s awful in them and not because she’s expressionless – which she still isn’t but equally bad in a different way – but because of the way she uncaringly utters awful lines with annoying faces that make her face a target for fists everywhere. The little twitches and annoying monotony of the whispery voice she’s forced to put on to add some mystification as if it’s some justification or a cover-up for the atrocious lines. As if that whispering in a forest makes it deep and meaningful with massive emotional resonance. Everyone blames HER when the director could’ve stopped it and Stephanie Meyer could’ve written it better and made her less of a crap android.
Instead, let’s look at her other roles shall we and where better to start than one of her earliest real roles. Panic Room isn’t David Fincher’s best film but it’s not an awful film in the slightest and one of the highlights of the film is Kristen Stewart. You may not believe it’s her as the androgyny crept into overdrive so much that on first viewing and not knowing it’s her, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s a boy. Kristen plays it so well at such a young age that it’s clear there is talent in this girl and she can tap into it. Throughout the film there’s an array of facial expressions that will prove that annoying, crappy meme that I mentioned earlier wrong in an instant. In fact, one scene alone could put that meme to bed and that should prove to everyone alone that she has talent but don’t worry, there are plenty of other examples to prove all you nay-sayers wrong.
In 2004, Kristen plays a selective mute which will probably make everyone have a field day thinking it’s fitting for the monotonous, expressionless actress but they’re wrong. Firstly, it’s selective mutism meaning she does actually speak in Speak albeit not much; with this you must express more in glances, in expressions, in idiosyncrasies and body language and as you watch carefully, you see her administrate subtlety in her performances, creating a disturbed nuance to a dark backstory that haunts her character. This alone is a performance to watch and a performance to see that shows a talented actress that needs to be challenged more often and not head into the mainstream in blockbusters because of her marketability.
Still finding it hard to believe? You need another example? If this was anyone else then it would be accepted and people would claim that the person is talented but one bad choice, one bad franchise, one bad sacrifice has caused her to be labelled talentless. She openly laments Twilight too so what more could you want? The next example in line is Sean Penn’s classic tale Into the Wild. It’s tells the story of a top student turned possession-less hippy that shows materialism doesn’t necessarily mean happiness. Another good turn from Stewart in this. Sean Penn would never ever cast a talentless person in his film because this is before her marketability so what would he gain from this? It would sully his film for no good reason. Stop the bias, stop the hatred: it’s unsubstantiated and there’s more to prove she has talent than there is to prove she doesn’t.
This is where it goes wrong, it’s understandable, 2008 brought what would be a stain on cinema and minds alike in the birth of the Twilight franchise. In the same year, though, she starred in The Yellow Handkerchief opposite Brit Eddie Redmayne which is an average film with a performance that has more than one facial expression again. Indies seem to be her friend; she then starred in Adventureland as the messed up love interest with complicated feelings for Jesse Eisenberg and lust-filled feelings for bigamist Ryan Reynolds as they spend an ‘80s summer in a bad amusement park. It’s a great film in itself that should be caught up on but Stewart is great in it with chemistry between her and Eisenberg that sparks as you feel the relationship kindle, fizzle and burn bright. You see the awkwardness of a teenager who misses her mother and acts out, making terrible decisions from feeling like an outcast, from missing her mother figure, from the fact her father moved on with someone she doesn’t accept and must resist. A great performance to a great character in a great film.
Finally we have 2010, where she knows her star power and can sit back and do indies risk-free. Welcome to the Rileys came with her being a prostitute/stripper that James Gandolfini seeks salvation with by caring for this young, distressed, directionless and strayed woman; a damaged saviour which slightly resembles Travis’s attempt from Taxi Driver – although Stewart is of age at least. It’s a bit dark at times but with Kristen’s awkward smiles and smoked up make-up, she loses the androgyny and the boyishness that she can sometimes possess and gets to cut-free and be sexy yet cute. Kristen Stewart is a talent. It’s driven along by the powerful performances of the cast, specifically Gandolfini and of course Kristen Stewart that make this even better. Kristen gets to cut loose here and play around by teasing the audience with her sexuality and dirtiness, cutting the ties to her blockbuster clean-girl imagery. The Runaways are a famous and notorious band who are utter filth with their overt sexuality. As Joan Jett, she received praise apparently playing her so well and being chameleonic that Joan Jett probably thought it was a documentary and it was actually her. Possibly an exaggeration but you get the point.
This is an actress with such talent but wasted talent as not only was it unused in the Twilight franchise but it now haunts her career with no one appreciating her at all. How can someone with such acting talent go painfully unappreciated as people blindly and stubbornly stick to their guns when there’s nothing to stick to? It’s almost criminal how people can be so ignorant to her talent. It’s infuriating that everyone loves to jump on a bashing bandwagon to bash and brush off a talent that, with the right material, could be one of the best and the most naturalistic actresses of this generation. People are oblivious to the obvious skills that she has at her disposal. They neglect her and have now rejected her and that’s something that needs to be changed and hopefully this’ll help people take a step in the right direction and teach them that you can’t ignore and scorn someone for controversial and flimsy excuses for reasons. Open your mind and don’t let the masses pressure you into wrongful opinions.
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