In Defense of Twilight 10 Years Later

Somewhere deep in the internet, there is a clip of 11 year-old me answering trivia questions on NBC as I wait outside the Today Show to catch a glimpse of my idol. Not just any trivia questions — these were about him: Robert Pattinson. Although I am not one to brag about my accomplishments, I will admit that I nailed it. If there’s one thing I know inside and out, it’s Twilight.

I saw Twilight for the first time when it first came out on DVD. In the years since then, I have probably seen it more than any other film. Without a doubt, I owed it to myself to go to a special 10th anniversary screening at a movie theater in Center City. Seeing Twilight on the big screen was certainly nostalgic, but it also reminded me of all of the reasons why I fell in love with the film in the first place. I have spent years and years obsessing over the series, but I am not burned out yet. There are reasons why we should still appreciate Twilight 10 years later.

There are many details in the film that immerse us in the cold, but intriguing world of vampires in the Pacific Northwest. The colors are distinct, with Earth tones for Bella and blue hues for Edward and the Cullens. Bella can often be seen wearing green and brown, but when she is with Edward, her color palette leans more blue. From the moment Twilight begins, we can see the vibrant, intense greens in the forests of Washington contrasted with the coldness of the vampires’ faces. The scene in which Bella and Edward lay in the meadow always sticks with me when I think about this movie. When Stephenie Meyer wrote the book, she began here after seeing this image in a dream. I think that this dream-like space was captured very well by director Catherine Hardwicke. The soundtrack is also very well chosen. It gives the film momentum and life when the acting and writing leave something to be desired.

Like many other fans, I was caught up in the “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” drama. Watching the film now, I have more appreciation for Bella as the central character. There is an intelligence to her— she considers what she wants, makes decisions for herself, and has the courage of her convictions. Watching Kristen Stewart’s performances in the subsequent films makes me cringe at times, but in Twilight, she captures the emotions that come along with a teenager’s love, and the conflict and confusion when she realizes it could be forever.

I completely understand why people think that the relationship between Bella and Edward is problematic. I also think that the film plays off of Edward’s creepier behaviors. Bella is completely startled the first time she catches Edward watching her sleep, but as their relationship plays out, he explains his desire to protect her. However, I think people miss the detail that even though Bella is in love with him, she knows she is capable of caring for herself, and that she would be even more powerful if he would change her into a vampire.

Looking at Twilight 10 years later, I think it deserves more credit. It gave life to an entire category of female-driven stories, which included four Twilight sequels, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. Catherine Hardwicke is the only female director for any of these films, which is incredibly important to consider, especially since her film was a proven success. Even though this is not a perfect movie, there is something about it intrigues me each time. It is a tale of eternal life and eternal love, mixed with angsty teenagers. Like a lot of love stories, Twilight is gripping and haunting at the same time. Even now, I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t watch Twilight for the sole purpose of making fun of it, and that there are valid reasons why it has been a phenomenal success.