Saturday, January 22, 2011


The fourth-highest domestic-grossing movie in 2010 was Twilight: Eclipse. Following the pattern I've already established for sequels, I need to review the first two Twilight movies before getting to Eclipse. This is my review for Twilight, the original 2008 movie.

This is the first romance movie to be reviewed here at Reverse Bechdel. The results will be interesting. By definition, in a heterosexual romance movie, one of the two main characters will be a man and the other will be a woman. Most of the action, er... conversation will be between these two characters, and most conversation between other characters will be about those two and their relationship. We might not expect the average romance movie to pass the third level of either the Original Bechdel or the Reverse Bechdel test.

blug1.png The first woman in the movie is the much-maligned Bella, who begins the movie with her narration. The first man with lines is Bella's mother's new husband (who says they have a plane to catch). Bella's mother does not have any audible lines. Bella's mother and her new husband are going "on the road" so Bella is going to live with her father "for awhile." Her father Charlie is the second man with lines, who talks to Bella in the car when they get to her new home.

blug2.png About the four-minute mark, Charlie introduces (or rather, reintroduces) Bella to Billy White. Both Charlie and Billy talk to Bella, then Charlie says Billy is exaggerating. They move into the background to have a joke-fight, giving Bella time to meet Jacob. The audible comments from Charlie and Billy are also directed at Bella, so it's not clear that this counts as two men talking to each other, rather than two men talking next to each other. However, about a minute later when Bella and Jacob get into the truck, Billy says to Charlie, "I told you she'd love it, I'm down with the kids," to which Charlie sarcastically replies, "Oh yeah dude, you're the bomb." It's short, but it's enough to pass RB-2.

pink1.png The second female with any lines is seen when Bella drives to school for the first time. A boy nearby criticizes the truck, and a girl says to him, "Nice one." I can't help but think that this is a huge high school for a town that supposedly has only 3,120 people.

In gym class, Bella meets Mike, then Jessica, who says, "Hey, you're from Arizona, right? Aren't people from Arizona supposed to be, like, really tan?" Bella replies, "Yeah, maybe that's why they kicked me out." Since Mike is there too, this conversation has the same issue as Charlie and Billy's first. However...

pink2.pngpink3.png At lunch, Bella talks with Jessica and Angela about the school newspaper (and what they'll put on the front page if not Bella) and the Cullens kids, although mostly about the Cullens kids. This easily passes OB-2, and the part of the conversation before the Cullens come in also passes OB-3. If there's any doubt, a couple minutes later, Bella's mom gets her first lines, having called Bella from a pay phone.

When Bella comes to school after the security man is killed (and Edward returns), Eric and Mike have a conversation like Charlie and Billy did earlier-- initially, both talk to Bella, then they move to the background and seem to continue talking to each other, but inaudibly, as Bella goes to talk to Edward for the first time. After Tyler nearly hits Bella with his van, Charlie and Dr. Cullen exchange a few words about Bella-- enough to satisfy RB-2, but not RB-3.

When James and Victoria kill the man in the boat (Waylon), the three have a short conversation:

Waylon: (to Victoria) Hello.
James: Nice jacket.
Waylon: Who are you?
James: It's always the same inane questions. Who are you...
Victoria: ...What do you want...
James: ...Why are you doing this...

I don't think this counts for RB-3 for the same reason that Jessica and Bella's first conversation didn't count for OB-2. Laurent then appears and says, "James, let's not play with our food." This would be stretching the definition of a two-way conversation, so I don't think this counts either.

blug3.png More than halfway through the movie, Billy and Jacob come over to visit Charlie and Bella. On the way into the house, Jacob and Bella move into the background, and Billy and Charlie exchange a few lines about the Waylon case. Twilight finally passes RB-3.

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