After her mother remarries, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves to the sleepy town of Forks, Washington to live with her father Charlie (Billy Burke), the town’s police chief. Bella enrols in the local high school and is immediately attracted to the school’s pale-faced loner, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Edward is actually a vampire, and spends most of his time glaring at Bella and avoiding her. This is not because he dislikes her, but because he is so attracted to her that he is afraid he will be unable to control his instincts and will harm her.
Luckily for Bella, Edward and his family drink only the blood of animals rather than humans. After Edward uses his superhuman strength to save Bella from being struck by a car, Bella begins to search for answers to her questions about him. Edward avoids direct sunlight, his skin is the colour of powder, he never appears to eat, his eyes change colour, he is unbelievably fast and has superhuman strength, and his skin is ice-cold to touch. Bella comes to the inescapable conclusion that Edward is a vampire. She is so infatuated with him, however, that it makes no difference to her feelings and they begin to display their affection for each other.
Meanwhile a group of rogue vampires has been terrorising the locals. They have killed two people, but the authorities put this down to animal attacks. Bella’s relationship with Edward puts her in danger from one of these vampires, the evil James (Cam Gigandet).
Vampires; destructive relationships
Twilight contains both visual and implied brutal violence, with many of the horror scenes seen from a distance. For example:
- A scared man runs through a deserted factory being chased by shadowy figures moving with superhuman speed. The three figures surround the frightened man and throw him to the ground. We hear snarling and see the man’s legs thrashing about. Later we hear that the man was killed by some kind of animal.
- A teenage boy driving a van loses control on an ice-covered road and skids towards Bella. Just before the van hits Bella, Edward jumps in front of her and uses his hand to push the van away, making a large dent in the side of the van. Bella appears unharmed. We see a small amount of blood on the driver’s forehead, and later we see his forehead with strips of plaster on it.
- Three vampires, two males and a female, stand over a frightened man in a boat. The female vampire kicks the man to the floor of the boat, and we hear one of the vampires telling the other ones not to play with their food. They pounce on their victim, and we hear later that the man was killed by animals.
- Bella is walking down an alley late at night when she is approached by several young men. The men threaten Bella in a sexual manner, telling her that they have watched her trying on her prom dress. They try to grab her and Bella kicks one of them in the groin. Edward arrives in a speeding car, looks at Bella’s attackers with non-human eyes and growls at them, causing them to flee. A short time later, Edward tells Bella to distract him because he wants to go back and rip her attackers’ heads off.
- During a flashback, a male vampire leans over a woman. The implication is that he is biting her neck, although we do not see the actual bite. When the vampire raises his head, blood is running down the sides of his mouth.
- When Bella confronts Edward about his being a vampire, she tells him that she is not scared of him. Edward tells Bella that he is an animal and a killer of things, has killed people before, and has never wanted a human’s blood as much as he wants hers. Edward becomes enraged and moves around Bella very fast, jumping back and forth, pulling up a tree and throwing it in an attempt to frighten her. He pins Bella against a rock and tells her that he doesn’t know if he can control himself.
- Edward tells the story of how his adopted father saved people from death by turning them into vampires. We see images of Carlisle biting several people on the neck. We also see him bending over Edward and biting Edward’s neck with Edward screaming out in pain.
- When Bella visits Edward’s home, his brothers and sisters comment on Bella smelling good. During the same visit, Bella talks about Edward’s family eating her if her relationship with him does not work out.
- Bella and her father argue. Bella deliberately says hateful things to her father to drive him away.
- Edward tells Bella that they will have to kill the rogue vampires by ripping their bodies apart and burning the pieces.
- James threatens Bella on the phone, telling her that her mother is his hostage. He says that unless Bella does what he tells her, he will kill her mother and film it.
- James films his attack and torment of Bella. He grabs her by the throat, pushing her against a wall while filming her reaction. Bella sprays pepper spray in his face and he throws Bella down hard onto the floor. She hits her head, and when she touches the injured spot we see blood smeared on her hand. James slams his hand down hard onto Bella’s leg. We hear her leg bone breaking and she screams out in pain. Bella is thrown down again and she lands on a shard of glass causing a bloody cut in her leg. James bites Bella on the wrist, leaving a bloody bite mark. She writhes in pain as venom enters her blood stream.
- After Bella has been attacked, Edward sucks the venom from her leg, struggling to stop himself from sucking all of her blood from her.
- Edward and James fight, throwing each other through the air and against walls, causing floors, walls and ceilings to crumble. James pins Edward against a wall and moves in to bite his neck, but stops when Edward’s family arrives. We see an implied image of what looks like Edward ripping out a piece of the rogue vampire’s throat.
- Edward’s brothers restrain James, with one of Edward’s sisters jumping onto him and breaking his neck by twisting his head around. We do not see the whole process, but see a quick glimpse of her twisting the head around and hear the sound of bones crunching. We then see Edward’s brothers and sisters building a fire to burn the body parts.
- Bella’s mother tells her how she fell down two flights of stairs and fell through a window. We see an imagined flashback of this happening.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight. For example:
- Shadowy images of vampires chase after their victims in a menacing and threatening way. Although the vampires appear to be normal people, they move with superhuman speed, giving them a supernatural, scary and threatening appearance.
- When the good vampires fight with the bad vampires, they all crouch down in an animal-like way, snarling at each other.
- Edward’s eyes change colour and are sometimes blood-red. In the sunlight, his skin looks as if it is covered in tiny diamonds.
- Drawings and paintings in a book show scary demons and vampire-like creatures.
- Native Americans run through a forest dressed in wolf pelts, and we hear about how this particular tribe is descended from wolves.
- A dead deer lies on the ground in a forest surrounded by several people.
Children in this age group might be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above, as well as by the idea of vampires.
Children over the age of 13 should be able to cope with the scary images and supernatural themes depicted throughout this movie.
There are some sexual references in this movie, including the following:
- A reference is made to a high-school boy’s swimsuit being ‘Olympic sized’.
- Bella’s mother asks her if there are any cute guys at her new school.
- A waitress in a restaurant refers to a man who dresses up as Father Christmas as ‘Butt-crack Santa’.
- While trying on a prom dress, a teenage girl says, ‘I like this one – it makes my boobs look great’.
- While having dinner in a restaurant, Edward tells Bella that he can read the minds of all the people in the restaurant. He then tells Bella that two people are thinking about money, two about having sex, and one about a cat.
- Edward caresses Bella’s neck and chest. He tells Bella that he is the lion who fell in love with the lamb.
- Edward tells Bella that her scent is like a drug to him.
- When Bella tells her mother that she is seeing a new boy, her mother asks her if she is being safe.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in this movie. For example:
- Bella’s father drinks beer from cans in his home.
- Edward tells Bella that she is like his own personal brand of heroin.
- A man talks about playing the role of Father Christmas, and how children like the little bottles he gives them.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie. For example:
- Teenage girls wear dresses and tops that reveal cleavage.
- Bella and Edward lie on the ground together, looking longingly into each other’s eyes.
- Edward sits on Bella’s bed facing Bella. He is fully clothed, while Bella is dressed in a tank top and underwear. We see a quick glimpse of Bella’s underwear-covered buttocks. Edward tells Bella to keep very still and not to move. He moves closer to Bella and then gives her a tender kiss. Bella grabs Edward, pulling him on top of her. They kiss passionately. Partway through the kiss, Edward jumps back off Bella, telling her that he can never lose control with her. They then both lie on the bed with Bella falling asleep on Edward’s chest.
- At their high school prom, Edward and Bella dance close together and kiss. Bella offers Edward her neck and asks him to bite it. Edward tips Bella back and kisses her neck instead.
The following products are displayed or used in this movie: cars, particularly Volvo, and American beer.
This movie contains infrequent mild coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Twilight is based on Stephenie Meyer’s best selling series of books. It is an intense teenage love story. The film targets and is likely to appeal to adolescent girls, particularly those who are fans of the book series.
The main messages from this movie are that:
- Love conquers all boundaries and prejudices.
- Forbidden fruit tastes the best.
- Family ties are extremely strong.
Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include self-sacrifice, family ties and commitment.
You might also wish to discuss Bella’s self-destructive streak. Bella knows that Edward is a vampire and a confessed killer, but she refuses to believe that she is in any real danger. She talks about how dying for someone you love is a worthwhile thing to do. You could talk about the real-life consequences of this type of thinking.