In all likelihood, she would not self-identify as a star…or a starlet. She has never exuded ingenue hues to be that young thing in everything. Critical and popular opinion may have latched on to the assessment that she only ever portrayed extensions of her introverted, moody, non-conformist persona. Some may have instantly dismissed her performative abilities because the media text that made her a house-hold name was based on a young adult fiction franchise. Even when the subtleties of her acting talents were more broadly recognized as a Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016), print and digital publications were arguably more motivated to pay attention to her movements vis-a-vis her paramours than her visual media projects. As a new decade is right around the corner, though, it would be difficult not to notice the steadily evolving brightness that has been surfacing from within her unconventional artistry.
The first time I knew Kristen Stewart existed was from the film Speak (Jessica Sharzer, 2004), which was adapted from the Laurie Halse Anderson novel of the same name. There was a quiet determination about her that resonated with me and compelled me to rent that DVD from Blockbuster multiple times until I finally decided to buy it. From those repeat viewings to now, I’ve seen the majority of her films. I’ve subjectively enjoyed nearly every one that came out before Twilight. Adventureland (Greg Mottola, 2009) and Welcome to the Rileys (Jake Scott, 2010) stood out to me among the films interlaced with the release of those vampire movies. Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, 2016), Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016), Personal Shopper, and the newest Charlie’s Angels (Elizabeth Banks, 2019) have been the best cinematic experiences to me post-Twilight.
I haven’t been inspired to write a proper post on this blog for years until after I had just finished watching Charlie’s Angels. I had forgotten how much fun a movie could be to watch at the theatre [I had a good time at Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019) a week ago, but it also reminded me of how deeply bittersweet and cynical of a mindset a film can leave a person (and I didn’t want to feel cynical)]. Elizabeth Banks’s Charlie’s Angels is funny, takes itself seriously while also being self-aware, and features Kristen Stewart at her most rambunctiously confident and humorous. I am fully aware that I am biased because I loved watching her in films from her pre-Hollywood stardom era, so I prioritized emotional investment over critical analysis.