Australian Council on Children and the Media

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, The

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Not suitable under 15 due to disturbing themes and scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, The
  • a review of Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 22 November 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not suitable due to disturbing themes and scenes.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Supernatural themes and medical procedures
Length 117 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film begins with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) making the final preparations for their upcoming wedding. Apart from Bella’s other romantic interest, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) causing a minor scene at the reception, the wedding goes as planned and Edwards 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 is pregnant and that the pregnancy is progressing at an unnaturally fast rate.

Horrified at the implications of this, Edward makes plans to return home with the intention of having Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli) abort the pregnancy, while Bella is intent on going through with the pregnancy regardless of the consequences. Bella’s return home is kept a secret, but when Jacob and the rest of the wolf pack learn of Bella’s pregnancy, the leader of the pack Sam (Chaske Spencer) informs Jacob that Bella and her unborn “abomination” must be killed to protect their people. Jacob rebels against Sam’s authority and leaves the pack with Jacob returning to the Cullen’s home to stand guard over Bella.

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

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Vampires; the supernatural; self sacrifice

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

While this film contains less action violence than previous Twilight films, it contains a number of disturbing scenes depicting bloody and gory images as well as reference to acts of violence. Examples include:

  • Edward tells Bella that he wanted to know it felt to taste human blood  and we see a flashback of Edward biting the necks of several men and see blood on Edwards lips and teeth. We are told that 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, and we see bruises on Bella’s shoulders and arms. Bella tells Edward that she did not feel the pain or mind the bruises.
  • Edward tells Bella that he wants her to abort the pregnancy, saying “Carlisle will get that thing out”.
  • There are several references to killing Bella and her unborn baby.
  • We see a number of images of Bella heavily pregnant, with a swollen stomach and bruised and battered torso. We are told that the baby is crushing her from the inside out and will kill her before she can give birth. Bella looks very ill and emaciated with dark circles under her eyes. Bella states that she is willing to sacrifice herself for her baby. 
  • There are several scenes depicting violence between werewolves and vampires during which we see werewolves chasing and leaping onto vampires knocking them to the ground and vampires punching werewolves and throwing them through the air. A werewolf pins a vampire woman to the ground and is about to kill her when he is stopped by Jacob.
  • The film’s most intense and disturbing scenes are those of Bella’s labour. When Bella goes into labour we see her convulsing and bending 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 we hear the sound of tearing flesh. When Edward lifts his head up, his face and mouth are covered with blood and he is holding the new born 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 in an attempt to revive her.   

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

N/A

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

  • In a nightmare, Bella in her wedding dress walking down the isle with rose petals falling around her. The rose petals turn into blood droplets and then a rain of blood. We see Bella and Edward standing at the alter with their hands, mouths and clothing splattered and covered in blood, they are standing in front of a pile of blood covered 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 effects of Bella 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 and we see Bella’s mouth and teeth stained with blood.
  • Several scenes of young men morphing into savage looking werewolves with supernatural strength and speed.
  • Bella’s lifeless emaciated body lies on a hospital trolley. She is wearing a torn and blood covered hospital gown and numerous bite marks cover her body. We see graphic inside images of her body as it reacts to vampire poison, with her blood, veins and tissues taking on a crystallised appearance. Bella screams out in pain as the transformation occurs. We hear the sounds of bones cracking and see images of her broken spine regenerating and healing, her sunken and broken ribcage rising, cuts and bruises healing, dark patches under her eyes disappearing and her skin taking on a healthy appearance.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

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

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

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

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple computers
  • Volvo

Sexual references

The film contains sexual references and innuendo. Examples include:

  • Bella pretends to be shocked that Edward might not be a virgin.
  • While looking lustfully at attractive young women (cousins of the Cullen’s family) a young man makes the remark “What a gene pool.” The pair then discussed the possibility that Bella may be getting married because she is pregnant.
  • In a conversation between Bella, Jacob and Edward about Bella engaging in sex with Edward before she is turned into a vampire, Jacob infers that having sex with Edward could kill Bella.
  • Bella and Edward embrace passionately while swimming in the ocean and Edward makes a remark about not being able to control himself. 
  • In relation to engaging in sex we hear Bella telling Edward “It was amazing for me”, “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 is pregnant.

Nudity and sexual activity

The film contains some partial nudity and sexual activity. Examples include:

  • Several scenes of women wearing revealing clothing.
  • Bella and Edward swim and embrace while naked (we see their backs).
  • Bella and Edward lie in bed, both appearing to be naked with Edward lying on top of Bella. They kiss passionately and we hear both breathing heavily and moaning and see some thrusting movements.   Edward breaks the bed’s headboard. The next morning when Bella wakes up the bedroom appears wrecked with pillows ripped, feathers floating in the air and the bed 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 straddling his lap at which point Edward sits up and kisses her passionately.

Use of substances

The film contains some occasional low-level substance use. Examples include:

  • Social drinking at the wedding with some tipsy behaviour. During the wedding reception we hear a man remark “I plan on getting drunk”.
  • Social drinking at a sidewalk café.

Coarse language

The film contains some occasional low-level coarse language. Examples include:

  • Crap, pissed off, shut up, damn it, what the hell, demon blood sucker

In a nutshell

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, the latest film based on Stephanie Meyer’s best selling novel series is an intense fantasy romance that targets adolescent girls.  It is by far the most disturbing of the Twilight films so far and not suitable for tweens and younger teenagers. Parents should be warned that it was originally classified MA15+ by the Australian Classification Board and reclassified without alteration by the Classification Review Board.

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

Parents may wish to discuss Bella’s sacrifice of herself for Edward and for her baby and the implications for real-life relationships.

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