Film Review: The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part I

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Going for a Swan

Warning: This review discusses all three plot points.

It’s taken some considerable time, in part because each film in this series feels so interminably long, but we can now be clear on what Stephanie Meyer’s neverending story is all about.

Initially we suspected a simple teen girl’s fantasy about falling in love with a vampire, but that could safely be dismissed as too literal a reading. In any event it was ridiculous. Then, as the story moved forward like a wounded sloth ascending an incline, we caught a glimpse of the grand plan; that additional layer of meaning that hid the meat like a rectangle of pasta in a bloody beef lasagne. In our haste we now thought this was the tale of two repressed homosexuals using a local girl with mental health problems as a cover for deep seeded lust. Edward and Jacob were from different worlds. They had deeply conservative families. This, we felt, was Meyer’s true preoccupation.

The advent of Breaking Dawn Part I, however, changes everything. With the new information contained within its 117 empty minutes, we now, at last, know the truth. This is a story about an abusive boyfriend’s attempts at wrestling a girl from her friends, family and one prospective healthy love interest, and her burgeoning realisation that her man is a monster. There’s cognitive dissonance aplenty in this beast, and the result is equally, if not more, discombobulating for the audience.

That Bella has been conditioned to be dependent upon Edward is obvious enough. You’ll recall the six months she spent in her bedroom, alternating between staring out the window and screaming, when he callously dumped her during the forth hour of New Moon. This was a cynical bid to extend his control and it worked like a dream. Having proved his point, that her life no longer had any value unless he was part of it, he sealed the deal with a marriage proposal. As Breaking Dawn begins, that union is imminent and Bella, conscious that she’s about to be absorbed into her boyfriend’s coven, or cult to give it its modern name, is apprehensive.

Many brides-to-be are nervous, but few walk up the aisle as though they were being led to a gas chamber, or imagine watching their betrothed enjoying James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein, with all the parallels thrown up by it, or dream about their wedding day turning into a massacre in which, indifferent to apparent bleeding from the vagina, they stand, arm in arm with their beau, on a hill of corpses that until recently were close family and friends.

Pages: 1 2

Directed by: Bill Condon

Country: US

Year: 2011

Running Time: 117 mins

Certificate: 12A for intense emo borishness and abuse metaphors.


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