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Movie Review

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 also known as “The Twilight Saga's Breaking Dawn Part I”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Action Horror Fantasy Romance Thriller Sequel Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
November 18, 2011 (wide—4,000+ theaters)
Copyright, Summit Entertainment click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Summit Entertainment

immortality—eternal life and eternal death

love in the Bible

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

marriage

wolves in the Bible

blood

Teen Qs—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Featuring: Kristen StewartBella Swan
Nikki Reed … Rosalie Hale
Robert PattinsonEdward Cullen
Dakota FanningJane
Anna KendrickJessica Stanley
Taylor LautnerJacob Black
Kellan LutzEmmett Cullen
Ashley Greene … Alice Cullen
Michael SheenAro
Jamie Campbell Bower … Caius
Maggie GraceIrina
Billy BurkeCharlie Swan
more »
Director: Bill Condon—“Kinsey” (2004), “Dreamgirls” (2006), “Gods and Monsters” (1998), “Mr. Holmes” (2015)
Producer: Summit Entertainment
Imprint Entertainment
TSBD Canada Productions
more »
Distributor: Summit Entertainment

“Forever is only the beginning.”

Series reviews: Twilight (2008), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part I (2011), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II (2012)

Based on the final book of the Twilight series, “Breaking Dawn Part 1” is likely the most anticipated installment. Broken up into two movies, Bella and Edward finally marry and celebrate their honeymoon. However, their getaway in the tropical paradise soon crashes to a halt when Bella discovers she’s pregnant with a baby that isn’t exactly human.

Though some might feel that the movie is a bit slow, much is accomplished. I’d have to say that the movie has the best acting in the series. Kristen Stewart plays her best portrayal of Bella yet, adding a lot more emotion and depth of the newlywed who soon faces death. Though CGI effects are better used, and Condon’s direction is appreciated, this film is exclusively for the Twihard fans and doesn’t answer any questions for newcomers. Some might also be disappointed in how condensed Jacob’s role is.

In a refreshing change from the latest plethora of romantic releases, most of the sexual content is between husband and wife. While it’s my job to list all possibly objectionable content, I have tried to keep it spoilers minimal, but some slight spoilers are still present in the following paragraphs.

This film has less profanity than the previous installments. In all, I counted about four uses: 3 hells and 1 d_mn. Bella asks Edward if his bachelor party will have strippers or whether or not he’s a virgin. Right before the wedding, a guest predicts that Bella is pregnant and will be showing.

During the wedding, several of the female guests wear very low-cut dresses. Bella’s wedding dress during a dream sequence is low-cut, as well. However, her real wedding dress is very modest in the front, but has a low dip in the back. Near the end of her wedding, Bella slow dances very closely with Jacob.

In the intimate scenes, Bella’s bare back is shown on several occasions; at one time, the side of her breast is briefly shown. On the first night, she takes off her towel and walks into the ocean; she and Edward then embrace and kiss in the water. Afterwards, Edward is on top of her in the bed, and they kiss. Bella wakes up to a broken bed and bruises on her body. However, during her flashbacks of the night before, Edward is only shown crushing a wall and gently kissing Bella as they sat on the bed. When Edward refuses to sleep with her again, she tries to tempt him by wearing negligees. After waking up from a dream, Bella pleads with her husband, and they soon begin to kiss again. In another scene, she also swims in either white undergarments or a bikini (I wasn’t sure which). She is also shown wearing very short shorts in a couple of scenes.

Besides the birth, there’s some amount of blood in the film. During a flashback, a vampire is shown briefly biting one victim, while his other victims are only shown collapsing. Bella has a nightmare where her wedding dress is soaked in blood and all her loved ones are in one massive, bloody heap. There are a couple of brief wolf fights, but no blood during these scenes.

During her pregnancy, Bella dwindles to mere skin and bones, and some of her bones are shown snapping when she makes a sudden move. In trying to get nutrition, she ends up drinking blood through a straw and stating that it tastes great. The birth scene is less graphic than in the book. Bella’s stomach is shown being cut into. However, during the majority of the caesarian birth, the camera zooms in on her face as she screams. Despite this, one can still hear the procedure. Afterwards, Bella gets stabbed in the heart with a metal syringe. Out of desperation, Edward bites her all over her body. Her lifeless, bloody body is often zoomed in on as they try to resuscitate her.

The movie has a strong pro-life theme interwoven throughout the plot. Yes, this is a fantasy novel where the baby isn’t exactly human, but similar comparisons are made. Though her pregnancy is literally killing her, Bella still chooses to have the baby. Despite having nearly all her loved ones against her decision and calling her baby derogatory names, Bella stands firm.

While the other Twilight movies exemplified a somewhat obsessive relationship between Bella and Edward, this latest installment tones it down and shows a married couple and family who genuinely care for one another. The film is clearly not made for anyone other than the already established fans. If you do decide to go see it, make sure to stay for the end credits.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I am a huge fan of the books and movies. I just saw this movie on the 18th day; I loved it! It was the best of the series; Edward was more romantic than ever (though he has been in the previous movies), and he was also extremely caring and understanding and quite happy and playful in this film.

Bella seems a lot happier, and Jacob has grown up in this film. I loved the wedding scene and honeymoon, including the bedroom scenes (and I’m glad that they waited till marriage before they went all the way). I’m also glad that Edward loved the baby, but before that (although it was kinda sad) that he didn’t want the baby (but I admire that it was because he really loved Bella, and I understood why he was feeling anger). more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Gwen, age 19 (Canada)
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie! I agree with the reviewer that this film is for the fans of the saga. I am a huge fan of the books, and I was happy that the films (including this one) follow the book well. Part 1 focuses on the wedding of Bella and Edward, as well as their honeymoon. However, nothing was offensive to me in regards to the love scenes.

The topic of abortion does come up, but I am happy to say that it isn’t carried out, and that the issue turns pro-life. I can’t wait for part 2! Please note that if you aren’t a twihard that you won’t like this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sarah, age 28 (USA)
Positive—I was introduced to the series in 2008, when the first film came out. I wasn’t willing to read a series revolving around vampires (That was before I was allowed to read Harry Potter). I first borrowed the book, then stopped reading, as I got bored. One day, in the spring of 2009, my mom and I were at Kroger, and I noticed a advertisement that they were selling the first movie behind the counter. I got it that day, and I liked the movie, and, as a result, started reading, only it was a slow process. I became a twihard when the second film came out.

Afterward, I became hooked. I got Eclipse on Christmas and finished it that day and I got Breaking Dawn the day after, and it took two sittings to read it. I was not impressed with the third movie that well, although I liked it, which made me have low expectations for part 1 of Breaking Dawn. I was eager to have the fourth book as a movie as back in 2009, and I am glad that part 1 followed the book mostly. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lydia, age 18 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Ok so I guess things were different in my head when I read the book, but for someone who didn’t read the book it must have been full of surprises, the only uncomfortable thing is a lot of kissing, and she wears a few nighties(they actually covered more than they showed) but they were nighties, when he breaks the headboard during love scene it got awkward,I would not let my teen see it, there are other moments where she is on his lap that gets uncomfortable, but they actually way out did any other PG-13 movies in this regard .they have one swim scene with her in a bathing suit, but it was fast, and it was modest. They don’t play her up to be a sex kitten or anything.

There were two cuss words dam*, hel* but that was it on language. Once they got past honeymooning things were really great and no issues with the rest. It gets a little bloody and gory in this one,especially during the birth, but that stuff didn’t bother me because they made it all so real.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Alicia, age 27 (USA)
Neutral—I loved the first two movies. This one was a bit slow for me. Basically the whole movie was about her being pregnant and not a whole lot happened. The birthing scene did gross me out some, as the baby sucked life from Bella. A couple times I had to look away (but that’s because I can’t stand things like that). One refreshing thing about this movie was that the sexual intercourse scene was between Edward and Bella as a MARRIED couple (something that barely exists in movies today).

This was an OK movie, but it did not live up to the first two.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Leslie, age 29 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I loved the first two movies, liked the third one just a tad less… but for some reason this installment just failed. To me, it didn’t have the heart of the others. It seemed like the director just focused on the morbid parts (oh, and the sex, of course) and didn’t take the rest very seriously. I could go into detail on which parts I didn’t like, but then this comment would be about a page long! So, to keep it short and sweet: I’m not sure I even want to see this one again, much less own it. I sincerely hope that this director can redeem himself with the finale.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Negative—I’ve read the books and seen the other 3 movies in their entirety. I was a fan of the series, up until now. This movie was terrible, not just because it’s about vampires, werewolves, sex and near-death experiences, although those don’t help it. The filmmaking and acting in and of itself was bad. It moved very slowly, and I would regret spending the money on it, even if I weren’t a Christian.

As far as the content, I was aware that there would be at least one sex scene but was naively hoping that given the age-group of the previous audience, they would hold back a bit. I guess they did hold back by today’s standards, but not enough to matter. There were two sex scenes, the first worse than the second. They showed as much as they could show so that the movie wasn’t R-rated and made any many movements and noises and they wanted. It was very uncomfortable to sit through. I was deeply ashamed to be there. I held out by reminding myself it was almost over and the movie would continue on with the rest of the plot. It did, but they threw another sex scene in there. It should have been expected because it’s in the book, but I guess my G-rated mind didn’t picture this stuff when I read it.

There is plenty more to be offended by during the honeymoon scenes, but these were by far the most offensive. I understand that this is a honeymoon and those scenes should be expected. I’m just trying to give those of you who do NOT want to see those types of scenes a heads up. They’re in there!

The rest of the movie was quite graphic. If you have read the books, you know that Bella needs to drink blood to satisfy the fetus” cravings. That is disgusting. The way they show her health declining is amazing and disgusting at the same time. They make it very real, down to the part where the baby breaks her back. The birth itself is a bloody, gory mess. She looks like a zombie laying on the table in a pool of her own blood.

I forgot that Edward has to tear through her stomach with his teeth to save the baby. That was also disgusting. If you’re not good with blood, don’t see the movie. I could say so much more, but I don’t need to. Just know that I used to like the series and when I left, I was so ashamed that I didn’t want anyone to know that I ever did like it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Kim, age 28 (USA)
Negative—Here’s the problem, and it’s not what most people say. The sex isn’t graphic, because lots of body parts are showing, or because it reveals something about the process that an 8th grader wouldn’t find out in health class. The issue is that, most especially in this movie, Bella and Edward’s relationship is a text book example of sexual abuse. It is so stereotypical that it’s almost laughable that the movie producers got away with it, especially while real children’s books like Harry Potter were being criticized for promoting “witchcraft” and “devil worship.”

Bella has no friends, and shuns them when perfectly ordinary, kind teens show up offering to fill the void. If she doesn’t have a boyfriend she becomes depressed to the point of being non-functional, that is, until another attractive man enters her life: Jacob. Then and only then does Bella start to come back to life; seems she just needed male with a six pack to tell her how mysterious and attractive she is. Whenever she decides to leave either love-interest, they attempt one suicidal course or another.

If she tries to keep Jacob as just a friend, Edward threatens to hurt him too. Manipulation, anyone? Moreover, Bella cannot have intimate relations with either without incurring serious physical injury, and although they claim to feel hesitant, she begs for it. Is that the kind of message young girls should be getting?

If you really love your boyfriend or husband, you should endure, even encourage, physical injury in exchange for intercourse? If he really loves you he should threaten to kill himself when you break up? Any parent that is OK with their young girls idolizing, respecting, or identifying with a character whose every action glorifies feminine weakness and emotional submission is seriously missing the mark.

The basic message of Twilight is clear: true love means giving up all social interaction, honest relations with family, dignity, physical well-being, and in Bella’s unusual case, her SOUL. Personally, all of this outweighs the apparently moralistic pro-life message.

If you think these are the defining, or any, characteristics of a healthy romance, you’ve just never had one before. I don’t know what twisted idea of love enabled the author of the series to convince a generation of girls who have not yet experienced a serious, loving relationship—even if they have passed health class and popularity contests with flying colors—that true intimacy could ever result from the sacrifice of one’s humanity, isolation from all other loving relationships, or a sex life in which brutality, intentional or otherwise, is a prerequisite for success.

In short, this movie is offensive for its glorification of the victimized woman, sexual violence, and emotional manipulation, all under the guise of a cheesy fantasy or a pro-life support, whichever your politics prefer.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: none
—Amy, age 23 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—Movie-making wise, it was excellent. The cinematography, acting, effects, and production were much better. Kristen Stewart improved the most, in my opinion. She showed a lot of emotion and portrayed Bella exactly as I imagined in the book.

However, the story wasn’t the greatest, but that is partly because I wasn’t a fan of the last book. ***SPOILERS*** It made me sad that Bella gave up her mortality to live with Edward and her hybrid child. Now she will have to watch her loved ones die around her, and I won’t ever be able to understand how she could want that lifestyle so badly. As I read the books, I was always hoping she wouldn’t become a vampire, but in the end, Bella got what she wanted. It was sweet, though, that she was willing to die for her Renesmee. She loved her baby so much. ***END SPOILERS***

There were definitely some cheesy scenes, like the imprinting scene and the wolves” communication. I felt like I was watching “Balto” when the wolves spoke with each other. And the birth scene was down right disgusting! I definitely had to cover my eyes a bit. I did enjoy that scene though, because it did the book justice in my opinion.

I would recommend this film for any Twilight fan. I think it was better than the book, because I overall enjoyed the film, not so much the book! Good movie, I’ll be seeing it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ellen, age 17 (USA)
Positive—This movie was absolutely amazing, and very well-done. I really don’t know what else to say!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Emily “emshemie,” age 13 (USA)
Positive— …the best film yet! I can’t wait to see the next half. The acting has improved tremendously! Kristen Stewart actually showed emotion and happiness in this one; which I’ve (and I’m sure you have, too) been waiting for a long time. Robert Pattinson also showed more emotions. He was very happy and playful in this movie. I was also very happy that they waited till marriage until they went all the way. I think that they overdid it on the sex scenes though. They didn’t show anything, but they had 2 long scenes that made me question the PG-13 rating. It also made me think about all the younger viewers, and how they would react or how their parents would feel about it.

***SPOILER ALERT*** Another thing that I didn’t really like, was that Edward didn’t want the baby at first. How can you not love your child? At least he ended up loving their baby. ***END SPOILER ALERT***

If you don’t like blood, then you might want to re-think about seeing this movie. The birth scene is very graphic, but very well done. That scene also made me question the PG-13 rating. But don’t let that stop you from seeing this movie.

It is very well written, follows along with the book very closely, has great acting, effects, soundtrack, etc. … I highly recommend seeing this movie. If you have young children (9-13), make sure that there is parental supervision!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jasmine, age 15 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I haven’t seen any of the Twilight movies and don’t plan on seeing this one either. Although the movie seems to have some spectacular and amazing special effects, I would rather see a movie that praises and honors God in some way. Vampires and werewolves, although they are pure works of fiction and are not mentioned in the Bible, are not creations of God, nor do they pretend to be. They are depicted as shadowy creatures of the night who cause mayhem and fear throughout all mankind. Essentially they steal, kill and destroy. Sound like someone familiar?

For God, blood makes atonement for sin. Christ shed His blood on Calvary for all the sins of mankind, past, present and future. Vampires, on the other hand, by their very nature, feast on blood to satisfy their unquenchable and insatiable thirst. Nothing more. This is detestable to God.

“Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood-I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people. For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Therefore I say to the Israelites, ‘None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood.’” (Leviticus 17:10-12)

As followers of Christ, we are not to be fascinated by anything related to the darkness and of the occult. Instead, we are to focus on “whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

We are “sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

We are not to “call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)

Save your money and instead see a movie that honors God and His ways. See a movie that inspires one to live a life of excellence and to show love toward their neighbor. Don’t get caught in all the hype and excitement that this film generates, especially among our youth.

As followers of Christ, while we are in the world, we are not of the world (John 15:19).
My Ratings: Moral rating: / Moviemaking quality:
—Lester, age 40 (USA)