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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Should Kristen Stewart kiss serious acting goodbye?

The Safety of Objects. The Cake-Eaters. Undertow. Fierce People.

Recognize these film titles? These four and several other films represent Kristen Stewart’s early, pre-Twilight career. And honestly, her performances in these films are unmatched by 90 percent of actors and actresses her age.

Stewart held her own with renowned performers like Dermot Mulroney, Glenn Close, and Patricia Clarkson. She took on a variety of roles that demanded her to become emotionally naked.

Now, it’s almost as if that impressive beginning of a career has been swept away. Why? The Twilight saga.

I tried to be objective when Twilight was originally released back in 2008. I attempted to read the book (and didn’t get very far) and gave the movie a real, honest chance. It didn’t impress me. It wasn’t terrible as far as blockbusters went, but as a Kristen Stewart fan, I was disappointed.

Stewart’s work as Bella Swan represents what are arguably the worst performances of her career. She seems out of her element – lost in the sea of false emotions and obscene writing. That spark that was present in Into the Wild and even the recent Runaways film is absent in the vampire epic. Stewart doesn’t seem present. She appears to be simply reciting lines from a page and, in that way, she mimics her cold co-star Robert Pattinson (who has also churned out some good performances – see Water for Elephants and Remember Me for examples).

Kristen Stewart doesn’t seem like your typical Hilary Duff-esque preteen star. When she’s at her best, she’s starring in independent films. She’s gritty, raw. In Twilight, none of that seems to exist.

So that begs the question: which route will Stewart choose? Can she swiftly balance the independent world while still thriving in the blockbuster one? Will she be forced to choose – cut and dry – what type of roles she takes on? Will she be typecast in this helpless heroine role that represents her most popular role to date?

It is this writer’s opinion that Stewart should take the piles of money she makes from the Twilight saga and run. She needs to re-discover her independent film roots. That’s not to say she’s completely lost them. I recently had the pleasure of viewing Welcome to the Rileys, which co-stars James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, in which Stewart plays a vulgarity-spewing young stripper. Once more, the young actress wowed me with her consistent delivery.

I’m interested in Stewart’s upcoming portrayal of Marylou in the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, but nothing more in her upcoming filmography impresses me. I fear that Stewart will take the Kirsten Dunst route and end up portraying a cheerleader or the girlfriend to a superhero in poorly directed, horrendously written summer blockbusters.

What do you think? Are Kristen Stewart’s established acting chops enough to keep her career afloat? Will she take the mainstream road? And better yet, is the mainstream road good for her? Give me your opinions! Also, what do you think Stewart's best role/movie to date is?


  1. TicketStubDiary says:

    I agree with the questions that your blog entry brings up about the strength of her acting. I think she's talented, but that talent is absolutely limited. I think she understands her limitations as an actor, and that's a very good thing. Her strength are in independent movies. That's her bread and butter.

    Some actors cross over to drama and comedy, but there are only a few that do it convincingly and with depth. For Stewart, it kinda the same thing, it's just blockbusters vs. indies. I think Stewart is the type of actor who absolutely needs a decent script in order to come across as natural when captured on film. If not, Twilight happens. We don't want Twilight; we want a performance that is as solid as Welcome to the Riley's. The percent of blockbusters that have a decent script is slim to none and only the truly talented can elevate such thin material. Stewart isn't one of them, unfortunately.

    I know I seem harsh but that's how I see it.

  2. What I love about Kristen is that she's intelligent; she seems to understand what films are good and what films are crap. With the exception of the Twilight movies she has picked small, independent, or smarter films. And to her credit, I don't think she had any idea what she was getting into with Twilight (although personally, I think they should have cast somebody else.) I respect her immensely, especially after watching Welcome to the Rileys, and I really hope people start coming around and seeing that she really is a fantastic actress. The thing is, she has to be in a good movie in order to give a good performance.

    I kind of think of her as a chameleon--If the movie is bad or the other actors are bad, she is bad; if the movie is great and the actors are skilled, she will do nicely.