Not suitable under 13, PG to 15 (Disturbing scenes and themes, Violence)
This topic contains:
- overall comments and recommendations
- details of classification and consumer advice lines for Twilight
- a review of Twilight completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 December 2008.
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. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.
|Name of movie:
|Consumer advice lines:
||Supernatural themes and violence
This review of the movie contains the following information:
A synopsis of the story
After her mother remarries, Isabella/Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves to the sleepy town of Forks, Washington to live with her father Charlie (Billy Burke), who is the town’s police chief. Bella enrols in the local high school and is immediately attracted to the school’s pale-faced loner Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who happens to be a vampire. Edward spends most of his time glaring at Bella and avoiding her, not because he dislikes her but because he is so attracted to her that he is afraid he will be unable to control his instincts and will harm her.
Luckily for Bella, Edward and his family drink only the blood of animals not humans. After Edward uses his superhuman strength to save Bella from being struck by a car, Bella begins to search for answers to questions that don’t add up. Edward avoids direct sunlight, his skin is the colour of powder, he never appears to eat, his eyes change colour, he is unbelievably fast and has superhuman strength, and his skin is ice-cold to touch. Bella comes to the inescapable conclusion that Edward is a vampire, but is so infatuated with him that it makes no difference to how she feels and they begin to publicly display their affection for each other.
Meanwhile a group of rogue vampires have been terrorising the locals, killing two people; events that the authorities put down to animal attacks. Bella’s relationship with Edward puts her in danger from one of these vampires, the evil James (Cam Gigandet).
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; Destructive relationships
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.
Twilight contains both visual and implied brutal violence, with many of the horror scenes seen from a distance. Examples include:
- A scared man runs through a deserted factory being chased by shadowy figures moving with superhuman speed. The three figures surround the frightened man and throw him to the ground. We hear snarling and see the man’s legs thrashing about. Later we hear that the man was killed by some kind of animal.
- A teenage boy driving a van loses control on an ice covered road and skids towards Bella. Just before the van hits Bella, Edward jumps in front of her and uses his hand to push the van away making a large dent in the side of the van. Bella appears unharmed. We see a small amount of blood on the driver’s forehead, later we see his forehead with strips of plaster on it.
- Three vampires, two males and a female, stand over a frightened man in boat. The female vampire kicks the man to the floor of the boat, and we hear one of the vampires telling the other ones not to play with their food. They pounce on their victim, and we hear later that the man had been killed by animals.
- Bella is walking down an alley late at night when she is approached by several young men. The men threaten Bella in a sexual manner telling her that they had watched her trying on her prom dress. They try to grab her and Bella kicks one of them in the groin. Edward arrives in a speeding car, looks at Bella’s attackers with non-human eyes and growls at them, causing them to flee. A short time later Edward tells Bella to distract him because he wants to go back and rip her attackers’ heads off.
- During a flash back we see a male vampire leaning over a woman with the implication being that he is biting her neck, we do not see the actual bite, but when the vampire raises his head we see blood running down the sides of his mouth.
- When Bella confronts Edward about him being a vampire she tells him that she is not scared of him. Edward tells Bella that he is an animal and a killer of things, has killed people before, and has never wanted a human’s blood as much as he wants Bella’s. Edward becomes enraged and moves around Bella very fast jumping back and forth, pulling up a tree and throwing it in an attempt to frighten her. He pins Bella against a rock and tells Bella that he doesn’t know if he can control himself.
- Edward tells the story of how his adopted father saved people from death by turning them into vampires, and we see images of Carlisle biting several people on the neck and see him bending over Edward and biting Edward’s neck with Edward screaming out in pain.
- When Bella visits Edward’s home his brothers and sisters comment on Bella smelling good. During the same visit Bella talks about Edward’s family eating her if she and Edward didn’t work out.
- •Bella and her father argue and Bella deliberately tells her father hateful things to drive him away.
- •Edward tells Bella that they would have to kill the rogue vampires by ripping their bodies apart and burning the pieces.
- •James threatens Bella on the phone, telling her that her mother is his hostage and that unless she does what he tells her, he will kill her mother and film it.
- •James films his attack and torment of Bella. He grabs her by the throat, pushing her against a wall while filming her reaction. Bella sprays pepper spray in his face and he throws Bella down hard onto the floor. She hits her head, and when she touches the injured spot we see blood smeared on her hand. James slams his hand down hard onto Bella’s leg; we hear her leg bone breaking and she screams out in pain. Bella is thrown down again and she lands on a shard of glass causing a bloody cut in her leg. James bites Bella on the wrist and we see a bloody bite mark on her wrist and she writhes in pain as venom enters her blood stream.
- •After Bella has been attacked, Edward sucks the venom from her leg, struggling to stop himself from sucking all of her blood out of her.
- •Edward and James fight, throwing each other through the air and against walls causing floors, walls and ceilings to crumble. James pins Edward against a wall and moves in to bite his neck, but stops when Edward’s family arrives. We see an implied image of what looks like Edward ripping out a piece of the rogue vampire’s throat.
- •Edward’s brothers restrain James, with one of Edward’s sisters jumping onto him and breaking his neck by twisting his head around. We do not see the whole process, but see a quick glimpse of her twisting the head around and hear the sound of bones crunching. We then see Edward’s brothers and sisters building a fire to burn the body parts.
- •Bella’s mother tells her how she fell down two flights of stairs and fell through a window and we see an imagined flashback of this happening.
Material that may scare or disturb children
Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.
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 five, including the following:
- We see shadowy images
of vampires chasing after their victims/prey in a menacing and
threatening manner. Although the vampires appear as normal people they
move with super human speed giving them a supernatural, scary and
- When the good vampires fight with the bad vampires they all crouch down in an animal-like manner snarling at each other.
- Edward’s eyes change colour and are sometimes blood red. In the sunlight his skin looks as if it is covered in tiny diamonds.
- Drawings and paintings in a book show scary looking demons and vampire-like creatures.
Americans run through a forest dressed in wolf pelts and we hear about
how this particular tribe was descended from wolves.
- A dead deer lies on the ground in a forest surrounded by several people.
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.
Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.
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 may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.
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.
Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and the idea of vampires.
The following products are displayed or used in this movie:
- Cars, particularly Volvo
- American beer
There are some sexual references in this movie, including:
- A reference is made to a high school boy’s swim suit being “Olympic sized”.
- Bella’s mother asking her if there are any cute guys at her new school.
- We hear a waitress in a restaurant refer to a man, who dresses up as Father Christmas as “Butt crack Santa.”
- While trying on a prom dress a teenage girl makes the comment, “I like this one it makes my boobs look great.”
- While having dinner in a restaurant, Edward tells Bella that he can read the minds of all the people in the restaurant, he then tells Bella that two were thinking about money, two about having sex and one about a cat.
- Edward caresses Bella’s neck and chest and hear Edward tell Bella that he is the lion who fell in love with the lamb.
- Edward tells Bella that her scent is like a drug to him.
- When Bella tells her mother that she is seeing a new boy, her mother asks her if she is being safe.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:
- Teenage girls wearing dresses and tops that reveal cleavage
- Bella and Edward lie on the ground together looking longingly into each others eyes.
- Edward sits on Bella’s bed facing Bella. He is fully clothed, while Bella is dressed in a tank top and underwear; we see a quick glimpse of Bella’s underwear covered buttocks. Edward tells Bella to keep very still and not to move. He moves closer to Bella and then gives her a tender kiss. Bella grabs Edward pulling him on top of her and the pair kiss passionately. Partway through the kiss Edward jumps back off Bella, telling her that he can never lose control with her. They then both lie on the bed with Bella falling asleep on Edward’s chest.
- At their high school prom Edward and Bella dance close together and kiss. Bella offers Edward her neck and asks him to bite it. Edward tips Bella back and kisses her neck instead.
Use of substances
There is some use of substances in this movie, including:
- Bella’s father drinks beer from cans in his home.
- Edward tells Bella that she is like his own personal brand of heroin.
- A man talks about dressing up and playing the role of Father Christmas, and children liking the little bottles he gave them.
The film contains infrequent mild coarse language. For example:
- butt crack Santa
- Oh my god.
In a nutshell
Twilight based upon Stephenie Meyer’s best selling series of books, is an intense teenage love story. The film targets, and is likely to appeal to, adolescent girls particularly those who are fans of the book series.
The main messages from this movie are:
- that love conquers all boundaries and prejudices.
- forbidden fruit tastes the best.
- family ties are extremely strong
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include self-sacrifice, family ties and commitment
Parents may wish to discuss Bella’s self destructive streak. Bella knows that Edward is a vampire, who is a confessed killer, but refuses to believe that she is in any real danger. She talks about dying for someone you love being a worthy thing to do. Parents may wish to discuss the real-life consequences of this type of thinking.