When teenager Bella (Kristen Stewart) moves from Arizona to live with her father in the small Washington town of Fork (population 3,120) she has to adapt to her new all-American high school. There she meets brooding, Byronic and stunningly handsome Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Their initially cool relationship changes when he mysteriously saves her from a crashing car. But the path to romance is pitted with boulders — Edward turns out to be a vampire (“I’m the world’s most dangerous predator”), now fighting to curb his bloodlust in favour of true love…
Teenage girls in their thousands have turned author Stephanie Meyer into a publishing phenomenon set to challenge J K Rowling’s dominance of fantasy fiction. Meyer’s four adolescent-aimed, best-selling, vampire fables have been skilfully and charmingly scripted by Melissa Rosenberg and directed by Catherine Hardwicke with a genuine feeling for the original’s proven demographic. Twilight emerges into the light as hugely enjoyable — even for cinemagoers for whom adolescence is just an acne-studded memory.
Perfect casting complements the impressively chaste (given the usual libidinousness of contemporary American teen movies) love story.
Stewart is credibly torn between natural chastity and burning romance, while British actor Pattinson (who was a casualty in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) oozes enough charm and charisma to make Dracula envious. He displays a welcome sense of humour (“I’m on a special diet”, he tells Bella) and is clearly destined to become a new celluloid dreamboat in the inevitable sequels. If they are as entertaining as this sweet fable, they will be worth waiting for.