Story

The movie begins with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) making the final preparations for their wedding. Bella’s other romantic interest, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), causes a minor scene at the reception. Otherwise the wedding goes as planned, and Edward whisks his new bride off for a romantic honeymoon on a secluded island. Bella and Edward spend several blissful days together, but soon Bella realises that she’s pregnant. The pregnancy progresses at an unnaturally fast rate.

Horrified at what this might mean, Edward plans to return home and get Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli) to abort the pregnancy. But Bella wants to go through with the pregnancy no matter what. Bella’s return home is kept a secret, but Jacob and the rest of the werewolves find out about the pregnancy. The leader of the pack, Sam (Chaske Spencer), tells Jacob that Bella and her unborn ‘abomination’ must be killed to protect their people. Jacob rebels against Sam’s authority and leaves the pack. He goes to the Cullen home to stand guard over Bella.

The baby grows to full term in a matter of weeks. Its rapid growth weakens Bella to the point of death before she goes into violent labour.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 was originally classified MA15+ by the Australian Classification Board. It was reclassified without alteration by the Classification Review Board.

Themes

Vampires; the supernatural; self-sacrifice

Violence

Although this movie contains less action violence than previous Twilight movies, it contains several disturbing scenes that show bloody and gory images. The movie also suggests acts of violence off-camera. For example:

  • Edward tells Bella that he wanted to know how it felt to taste human blood. There’s a flashback of Edward biting the necks of several men, which also shows blood on Edward’s lips and teeth. All of his male victims were murderers and rapists who preyed on women.
  • After having sex with her, Edward asks Bella how badly she has been hurt. There are bruises on Bella’s shoulders and arms. Bella tells Edward that she didn’t feel the pain or mind the bruises.
  • Edward tells Bella that he wants her to abort the pregnancy. He says, ‘Carlisle will get that thing out’.
  • There are several references to killing Bella and her unborn baby.
  • Several images show Bella heavily pregnant, with a swollen stomach and bruised and battered torso. The baby is crushing her from the inside out and will kill her before she can give birth. Bella looks very ill and thin with dark circles under her eyes. Bella says that she’s willing to sacrifice herself for her baby.
  • Several scenes show violence between werewolves and vampires. Werewolves chase and leap onto vampires, knocking them to the ground. Vampires punch werewolves and throw them through the air. A werewolf pins a vampire woman to the ground and is about to kill her. Jacob stops him.
  • The movie’s most intense and disturbing scenes show Bella in labour. When Bella goes into labour, she convulses and bends backwards until we hear the sound of her spine breaking. A woman drags a scalpel across Bella’s stomach, and Bella screams. Edward puts his face down towards Bella’s stomach, and there’s the sound of tearing flesh. When Edward lifts his head up, his face and mouth are covered with blood, and he’s holding the newborn baby in his hands. The baby and Edward’s hands are covered in blood and gore. Following the birth, Bella lies lifeless on the hospital bed, covered in sweat and blood. Edward gives Bella mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and pounds on her chest. He plunges a gigantic syringe filled with vampire venom into Bella’s heart then bites her all over her body to revive her.

Content that might disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged under eight years. For example:

  • In a nightmare, Bella is in her wedding dress walking down the aisle with rose petals falling around her. The rose petals turn into blood droplets and then a rain of blood. Bella and Edward stand at the altar with their hands, mouths and clothing splattered and covered in blood. They’re standing in front of a pile of bloody dead bodies with a large pool of blood at their feet.
  • Bella ravenously eats pieces of semi-raw chicken. She looks at the raw flesh, runs to the toilet and violently throws up (we hear the sound her vomiting and see a brief image of vomit leaving her mouth).
  • To feed her unborn baby, Bella drinks several cups of blood using a straw. Her mouth and teeth are stained with blood.
  • Young men change into savage werewolves with supernatural strength and speed.
  • Bella’s lifeless body lies on a hospital trolley. She’s wearing a torn and bloody hospital gown and has numerous bite marks on her body. There are graphic images of the inside of her body as it reacts to vampire poison. Her blood, veins and tissues start to look crystallised. She screams out in pain as the transformation happens. There are sounds of bones cracking and images of her broken spine regenerating and healing. Her sunken and broken ribcage rises, her cuts and bruises heal, the dark patches under her eyes go away, and her skin looks healthy again. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the images and scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the images and scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

This movie contains sexual references and innuendo. For example:

  • Bella pretends to be shocked that Edward might not be a virgin.
  • While looking lustfully at attractive young women (cousins of the Cullen family), a young man says, ‘What a gene pool’. He and another character talk about the possibility that Bella might be getting married because she’s pregnant.
  • In a conversation between Bella, Jacob and Edward about Bella having sex with Edward before she’s turned into a vampire, Jacob realises that having sex with Edward could kill Bella.
  • Bella and Edward embrace passionately while swimming in the ocean. Edward says something about not being able to control himself.
  • In relation to having sex, Bella tells Edward, ‘It was amazing for me’, ‘It was the best night of my existence’, and ‘For a human I can’t imagine how it gets any better’.
  • When Bella sees tampons in her bag, she counts off the days since the wedding and realises that her period is late. She tells Edward that her period is late and that she thinks she’s pregnant. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie contains some occasional low-level substance use. For example:

  • Characters drink socially at the wedding, and some seem to get a little bit drunk. During the wedding reception, a man says, ‘I plan on getting drunk’.
  • Characters drink socially at a sidewalk café. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie contains some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Several scenes show women wearing revealing clothing.
  • Bella and Edward swim and embrace while naked (we see their backs).
  • Bella and Edward lie in bed. They both seem to be naked. Edward lies on top of Bella. They kiss passionately, breathe heavily, moan and move against each other. Edward breaks the bed’s headboard. The next morning when Bella wakes up, the bedroom is wrecked. Pillows are ripped, feathers float in the air, and the bed is almost totally destroyed.
  • After Edward refuses to make love to Bella, she entices him by wearing a sheer negligee, pulling him close and kissing him passionately. Then she straddles his lap, so Edward sits up and kisses her passionately. 

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Apple computers and Volvo cars. 

Coarse language

This movie contains some occasional low-level coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is the latest movie based on Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling series of novels. It’s an intense fantasy romance that targets adolescent girls. It’s by far the most disturbing of the Twilight movies so far and isn’t suitable for tweens and younger teenagers.

The main message from this movie is that true love is worth tremendous self-sacrifice.

You might want to talk about Bella’s sacrifice of herself for Edward and for her baby and the implications for real-life relationships. 

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