Here's the deal with Twilight: Edward Cullen, a 100-something-year-old vampire who doesn't look a day over 17, is attending high school along with his adoptive vampire family. He's beautiful (Robert Pattinson is on the path to being the most sought-after man-child since Romeo + Juliet-era Leonardo DiCaprio), he can read minds, and virtually all of his female classmates alternate between lovesickness and trepidation (the Cullens are all a little unsettling in their beauty). In any case, he isn't interested. Enter Bella Swan, Teenage Girl. She's the new kid in a small, perpetually overcast Washington town called Forks. Her first days of school aren't exactly traumatizing; she makes friends easily and attracts her fair share of Forks boys, but she still doesn't feel she fits in and misses her home in Arizona. Everything changes after she locks eyes with Edward Cullen, who doesn't know if he should kill Bella (he admits the scent of her blood is like his "brand of heroin") or allow himself to fall in love with her. This is where The Teen Girl Effect comes into play. Twilight is grade-A film crack. The dialogue leaves much to be desired and the special effects are like something out of an old episode of The Outer Limits. Edward's inner struggle to resist the allure of Bella's blood, and Bella's mixed feelings and hurt regarding Edward's erratic behavior plays like a rushed attempt at paving the way to their first kiss. It's not long before Edward and Bella declare their "unconditional, irrevocable" love for one another despite the inherent danger of a love affair between predator and prey (referred to as "the lion falling in love with the lamb" in both the book and film). Bella is willing to give up everything for a boy she hardly knows because she's convinced Edward is her true love, and to be separated from him would be unbearable. It's not a shining moment in terms of social progress for women -- however, if you are a teenage girl, or an adult who...
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