Usually when someone is described as “polarizing” it means that sensible people think they’re awful and foolish saps think they’re the greatest. Other times, it can be a matter of acquired taste, someone who seems weird and unlikeable at first and then over time, as you begin to understand what they’re about, becomes more interesting and cool. In other cases, people’s impressions can be forever tinged by what their first exposure to someone is, and they refuse to change their minds, instead steadfastly clinging to their original conclusion because thinking differently is too much work.
I say all this because I think a sizeable contingent of the public has gotten Kristen Stewart entirely wrong. The first moment she seized most people’s attention was as Bella in Twilight, which developed a specific reputation for her as a person and as an actor, and she has been unable to shake this reputation to this point. For a number of us though, she was somebody before she was Twilight Girl. She was that girl in Into the Wild who was so awesome, and then also the young girl in Panic Room we remembered being really good for a child actor, and then in some interesting-sounding indie movie called The Cake Eaters and the enormously anticipated Adventureland, Greg Mottola’s Superbad follow-up. Oh, and she’s in some vampire movie coming out?
That was my thought process at least, back in 2008 when I first learned who K-Stew was—you know, before she was “K-Stew.” So while I can understand hating on the performers in Twilight, because I don’t dispute that the acting is uniformly bad in those movies, with few exceptional moments, I think defining an entire career from one character in a poor blockbuster series is unfair. Not to mention, people who think she’s just some dumb teen actress who’s miserable in public all the time misses out on appreciating a public figure who is seriously punk rock. Like, even more than Jennifer Lawrence, who has far more patience for Hollywood BS than many of us do.
You may think I’m crazy, and that’s fine. Indulge me by hearing me out. Then you can share all the outraged comments you’d like. Or anything else. Here are, summed up, the 4 main reasons I think instead of being decried as an angst-ridden hack of an actress, Kristen Stewart should be celebrated as an alt-celeb badass who is one of the most promising actors of her generation.
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