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robyn
10 June 2009 @ 11:23 am
This is my sole contribution to Kristen Stewart's IMDb page. LOL.
Written on April 2nd, 2009




The film's title could baffle or be lost on you. Then you realize after watching that it is one of the smartest titles written for a story. Really. I remember one cheeky poster I saw eons ago, "Life is short, eat dessert first!". And from there you know why this title is so apropos.

"The Cake Eaters" was made two years ago but was only released in theaters recently. Mary Stuart Masterson, yes that great actress who directed this little film, should thank high heavens for Twilight. Because before Twilight, Kristen Stewart was just that young indie actress recognized only by people who watch little indie films. We all know Twilight at present is still officially undead, which is good news for the leads' older films which were shelved, and are now miraculously resurrected. Otherwise there is a very slim chance for this little film to go mass market. First, it is a "quiet" character-driven movie (no action sequences typical of blockbusters). Second, the cast is a group of actors and not stars.

But they are not really new actors. Which leads us to Bruce Dern, playing the widower Easy, who gives a very solid performance here. Aaron Stanford, playing the naive and reliable Beagle, has been making films since 2002. He reminds me of Michael Cera. It's not the looks but it's how he portrayed Beagle here. And then we have Kristen Stewart, who plays Georgia, a headstrong 15 year old with a degenerative disease (Friedreich's Ataxia). Kristen inhabited Georgia here. She plays her so convincingly you think she's born with the disease. I can imagine the twitching, slurred speech and uneven gait could take a toll yet she was consistent with it. The best thing is, though she played a girl who is physically weak, her Georgia shows strength and maturity.



Kristen has received a lot of flak for underplaying her characters. But consider that here she achieves Georgia's strength with her restrained acting; opting to convey emotions through facial expression and succinct delivery of lines. Georgia becomes not just a sick 15 year old girl but much more than that. We feel for her, but we do not pity her. Which is what all people with disabilities want from normal people anyway.

And who would have guessed that Guy, the black sheep brother, is played by the screenplay writer, Jayce Bartok. He writes better, we say, but kudos to him for churning a thoughtful mature story.




I am a fan of Masterson's and was so glad to learn she's gone into directing. Her steady hand has allowed this little film to achieve its purpose. The choice of making a film set in a small town reminds you of "Fried Green Tomatoes". This does have a feel of that film. Subtle , unassuming, natural. She worked hand in hand with real life brother Peter as cinematographer, who gave some stunning shots.

The OST is also worth mentioning, considering that Duncan Shiek has lent his talent. His relaxed introspective music accompanies this film well.
 
 
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Current Music: Twilight OST
 
 
robyn
10 June 2009 @ 02:09 am
Sometime 2002, while watching Panic Room, I was bowled over by the girl playing Jodie Foster's diabetic daughter .  She spoke like an adult, had an intelligent and eerily strong demeanor. And held her own beside the greatness of Jodie Foster.  She was unlike any child star of her time. I instinctively knew this kid will become BIG someday.




Time quickly passed and Kristen turned into a young adult. She became a favorite of independent (indie) films. And personally, I was glad with her choices. She preferred roles with character over some banal teen flick. She chose professional growth and fulfillment over big paychecks. Giving one an impression that there is so much more substance to this girl than the average Hollywood It Girl.

At the tender age of 14, she played quite a heavy role as a date rape victim in the made-for-TV movie Speak.  She was riveting in this film.




There are  a lot of positive feedback on her take as a hippie trailer girl in Sean Penn's Into The Wild  . But my greatest discovery there was seeing Kristen play the guitar and sing (she played her own composition "Tracy's Song" ).  Here's a clip of another song she sang with Emilie Hirsch in the same movie. The song is called "Angel from Montgomery".




But the best I've seen so far of her, showing much of her range and maturity as an actor,  is her role as a girl with a degenerative nerve disorder in the indie film The Cake Eaters. Which was imperative that I watch because it was directed by one of my favorite actresses of all time, Mary Stuart Masterson. Kristen played the headstrong 15 year old with such intensity that she kind of inhabited the role. She played her so convincingly you would think she was born with the disease.




I have yet to see her in Adventureland, where Roger Ebert has said of her performance "Here is an actress ready to do important things" (rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article)

I had no intentions of reading the Twilight Saga. I was put off by the media buzz that it was "the next Harry Potter" and that Stephenie Meyer might be the next J.K.Rowling . In my mind, there is only ONE J.K. Rowling. But I had to eat my words the day I found out Kristen would be playing the lead role as Bella. I immediately read the books knowing I would want to see the film. And the rest, they say is...right - History.

When I learned that Twilight had this cult following and was touted to become a "blockbuster" I was kind of mourning Kristen's loss of anonymity. I thought, now I had to "share" her to the world. I also feared that stardom will change or affect her. But that fear was easily abated. Kristen herself has said she was not aware of how "big" the books were when she signed on to play Bella. She truly thought she was making her usual indie film, this time about falling in love with a vampire.

The thing I most admire about Kristen Stewart , the person, not the actor, is how she is unlike many teens her age. Kristen has remained grounded and true to herself. She did not create a new persona overnight.  She still dresses the same way (jeans and tees and her favorite sneakers) and does not intentionally go out to be "seen". Although the paparazzi can't help but follow her around anywhere now. She prefers reading (how many teens would read John Steinbeck's East of Eden?? ) than watching television. She is not spotted every single night in bars. She is dead serious about her work.

Despite all the success of Twilight, and a looming lucrative career in the coming years, she still remains the same Kristen. Awkward , wise-beyond-her-years, well-read and articulate, effortlessly sexy, normal Valley girl.



PS.

In a November 2008 interview  in On Air with Ryan Seacrest,  Rob Pattinson's reply to Ryan's question
"Could you fall in love with Kristen Stewart?" was "Oh yeah, she's amazing! "

My thoughts exactly, Rob.

 
 
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