WARNING: I’m writing this as someone who loved the books and only mildly enjoyed the movies.
The best thing I can say about Breaking Dawn is that the audience cheered for Bella. All of us did.
In all my time as a Twilight fan, they’ve cheered for Edward and Jacob, but they never cheered for Bella. I hated that.
Bella is my favorite character of the series. Kristen Stewart has played her brilliantly, but for some reason she never got the attention she deserved. The Bella of the books started off as a timid and weak girl and grew to a strong and loving character whose courage brought peace and happiness to her family, but none of the movies except New Moon (thank you Chris Weitz) allowed Kristen to show that strength.
Kristen tried, she presented Bella the best way she could. Over and over, Kristen brought her best to the role, but they always cheered for the boys and not her.
In Breaking Dawn, that all changed. Finally, thanks to the combined efforts of Kristen Stewart and Bill Condon, we saw the Bella of the books, that incredible young woman we learned to love and could all relate to.
And we cheered for her.
That fact is I really didn’t like the first Twilight movie. The best thing I can say about it is that it had a rather pleasant shade of blue. The movies have slowly gotten better since then, mostly due to the dedication of the cast.
In Breaking Dawn, the combination of that dedicated cast mixed with a phenomenal director and editor gave me the characters I’d been waiting to see.
After three films, Bella is finally Bella, and she rocks.
Edward is finally and clearly the best choice. He is finally that strong, loving boy who will give up anything for the girl. He’s finally a better man than Jacob.
Jacob comes across as the possessive boy who is forced to grow suddenly into the right kind of man. His transformation was a pleasure to see, and I’m not even a Jacob lover. Taylor Lautner was exceptional in this film and his portrayal of the tortured boy who becomes the leader of his pack is equally exceptional.
So what did it? What scenes made me love this film more than even the book? (and, yes, I did like Breaking Dawn)
The wedding was spot on. We saw the things we have been wanting for a long time. We get to see Alice’s friendship, the goodbye between Bella and her mother, and, most of all, the love between Edward and Bella. The dance between Bella and Jacob was heartbreaking and showed for the last time that Jacob wasn’t right for Bella and Edward was always the best choice. Edward’s reaction to Jacob in it was exactly as Stephenie wrote it to be.
We even got to see a hilarious portion of the wedding not in the book, and it fit within the story flawlessly.
Isle Esme, while not what many fans wanted, is beautifully done and also tremendously funny. I thoroughly enjoyed Bella’s unease and Edward’s attempt to avoid her. I found myself enamored with the growth of the young couple and the awkward scenes between them.
While many others didn’t enjoy the argument and conflict between Bella and Edward after she decides to keep the baby, I saw it as Bella’s strongest moment. She fought for what she wanted and showed her courage and strength. We didn’t read about their relationship in the book, but this is exactly as I envisioned it, and Rob played the agonized “burning man” expertly.
When Jacob comes back to help Bella in her final hours of need, finally grown to manhood, I grew to love him. The interaction between Edward, Jacob and Bella at the last part of her human life is brilliantly acted.
In fact, Bill Condon and Taylor even managed to make me fall in love with my most dreaded moment of the book.
As a foster mother, the imprinting scene always carried a creepy overtone for me. While I know intellectually what Stephenie intended, I’ve never been comfortable with the idea in any way. I truly dreaded that scene. But in one beautifully acted moment, I got it. They showed what Stephenie meant and I understood and accepted what imprinting is supposed to be. It might not be my favorite idea of all time, but the moment in the movie when Jacob imprints is actually one of my favorites.
Bill Condon brought out the best in his actors. Kristen Stewart was amazing, simply amazing, as she acted out the most wonderful and horrific parts of Bella’s life. Rob’s portrayal of a desperate, self-loathing Edward made me feel that the incredible character from the books finally appeared on the screen. These three, Rob, Taylor and Kristen, BECAME Edward, Bella and Jacob from the books. Finally.
I don’t need to say much more. The scene where Edward hears his child for the first time was so raw and beautiful it brought me to tears. The birth scene is everything we’d hoped and more.
But it is that final moment of the film that made me finally and irrevocably love the movie. That moment, when Bella becomes Edward’s equal was powerful enough to bring us to our feet. And we cheered. Not for hot guys or sexy immortality, but the for simple girl who managed to touch us all and bring my inner girl back to life.
We cheered for Bella, and I couldn’t have been happier.