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August 20, 2009
Vatican paper delves into new Twilight movie
By CNA Staff

By CNA Staff

In an article entitled, “The Secret of Twilight,” the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reviewed the first of the Twilight movies. The film tells the story of a lonely teen who doesn’t fit in and a young vegetarian vampire who has decided to abstain from human blood.
 
Reporter Silvia Guidi begins by questioning the reason for the success of the movie, which “fascinates millions of people (not only teens, as there is also a Twilight fan club of moms).”  “Bella—together with the fans of the series—has been conquered by the fascination with difficult love, which is worth the risk,” she writes of the main character.
 
Twilight is a “maximalist” story capable of conquering readers and viewers by giving voice to the deepest expressions that are censored by contemporary culture, expectations of the human heart, Guida says.
 
Reflecting on Edward Cullen, the vampire played by Robert Pattin, and Bella Swan, the teen who falls in love with him, Guida writes,“eternity is not only about living forever, but above all about living more, with an intensity that is unknown to ‘normal’ people.”
 
Edward, she goes on, “has the reactions and feelings of a teenager but the maturity of someone who has lived 108 years.  He doesn’t choose to be good, but he changes because of the example he sees in his adoptive father, the ‘vegetarian’ vampire Carlyle, and because of the encounter with his ideal prisoner” in the movie.
 
In the background “are the separated parents of Bella, symbols of those who reject the ‘forever.’  To them…eternal love is only such as long as it lasts. Her father, Charlie, loves her but literally does not know what to say to her.  Living with him means routine beer drinking, entire nights in front of the television watching sit-coms neither one of them like, eating in the car once a week, affection that is solid but unable to be transformed into real accompaniment in her life.”
 
Bella, Guida continues, “loves her father but does not expect much from him. She experiences the kind of discouragement that imprisons kids when they ask an adult a very important question and get a generic or completely unrelated answer.”
 
She also “sees in Edward’s loneliness her own unease: both are isolated, him because of his hidden ‘monster’ nature, her because she fakes interest in things she doesn’t care about: the cult of shopping, expectations for the prom, desperation over wanting to be in latest edition of the school magazine, chatting with her friends.”
 
Both of them, when they are together, “are condemned to receiving special attention: Bella knows she is risking her life; Edward, in order to accept loving her, must consent to hiding his bad side. This is the exact opposite of the 'Just Do It' mentality of young people.” Rather, the characters exhibit an attitude that says if they can try, “the world is there, they only need to take it.”
 
Reality “does not follow this law, as every fable teaches us,” Guida writes.  “Cinderella knows she must leave the dance at midnight, unless she wants to see everything disappear and the carriage become a pumpkin, even seeing the enchantment of love end.”
 
“The question is not so much why is Twilight so successful, but rather, how can a kid watch it with indifference?” Guida wonders.

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