The Movie Twilight, Love, Morals and Modernity

twilight_bigteaserposterAllegra DePazi: Dr. Fell, do you believe that a man can become so obsessed with a woman from a single encounter?”

Hannibal: “Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for her and find nourishment in the very sight of her? I think so. But would she see through the bars of his plight and ache for him?”

I recently viewed Twilight the movie based on the books written by Stephanie Meyer and it moved me in so many ways.  I would invite people who are reading this to refrain, at least until the end of the post, from thinking this will be filled with statements containing, “OMG… I would just die if… Sigh, where’s my romantic story.”  My intention is to pull from the movie (b/c I have not read the books yet) the meanings of passion, love, honor, restraint, discipline and many other virtues I have witnessed.  I cannot remember in the past couple of years a movie with deep meanings such as these becoming so popular.  I must say it was a breath of fresh air.  Now I will not lend to the movie the title of perfection because I believe it is far from that.  The script at times seemed like it was written the night before and the characters seem to have been given very little direction in some moments of the film.  I think that the movie did its best at staying away from sappy Hallmark Channel cliches but it sometimes went down that road of teenage mush.  Nor do I think this the perfect example of love because I doubt we can love that passionately and that zealously 24/7.  I think we can once we leave this world but for now, love is intertwined with doubt, certainty, deserts, oasises, fear and courage.   But the themes that the movie expounded on are what I think need to be examined and admired.

For the purposes of this article, the dilemma is such: Bella (Main character) moves to a small town where she does not know a soul.  She keeps to herself but is not terribly shy.  She is not drop dead gorgeous but is pretty enough for the guys in her new school to compete for her attention.  She assimilates fairly quickly with her friends and becomes intrigued with a particular group of students known as the Cullens.  They are a tightly knit group because, unknown to the rest of the human world, they are vampires.  They are not like other vampires because they only drink the blood of animals.  They do not kill humans for moral and ethical reasons but would still be enemies from such inane groups like P.E.T.A.  Edward Cullen (Another main character) fascinates Bella because of his good looks and uncanny demanor and nature.  Edward Cullen immediately is drawn and fascinated by her for physical and “spiritual” reasons.  He is drawn to her by his own physical need to consume blood.  Just because he and his “family” do not drink the blood of humans does not mean that they still do not crave it.  The need to drink human is intense they just choose not to partake in it.  Bella, for reasons unkown, increases this drive in Edward and he finds himself expending more energy than usual to hold himself back.  Edward, due to own unique abilities as a result of being a vampire, has the ability to the read the minds of people around him but Bella is exempted from this.  No matter how much he tries, he cannot get a read on her which, by the way, is the dilemma for most guys anyway.  Their relationship starts off rocky because he is somewhat rude to her in order to keep her from danger.  But his fascination and deep love for her trumps his hesitancy and he starts pursuing her.  He saves her life on numerous occasions and feels EXTREMELY protective of her in a way that leans more towards the chivilarous and romantic side, though it can be a bit much.  The love he feels for is equally recipricated towards him though he is in constant check of his nature to consume blood.

Edward has been alive since the beginning of the 1900’s and he is not happy at what he is.  He was turned into a vampire in order to survive Spanish Influenza (Which I bet he was peeved when flu shots were invented).  We are led to believe that his hatred of who he is has kept him from loving anyone else.  His foster mother and father are married and his sister Alice is married to his brother Jasper and his sister Rosaline is married to his brother Emmett (Keep in mind they are not really brothers and sisters, they are all more like a Coven of vampires but to the outside world they are a foster family).  We are led to beleive that Edward finds life rather meaningless until this person comes along that knocks him from his comfort zone and he just cannot keep away from her.  He even admits to her that “… I don’t have the strength to keep away from you anymore.”  It’s almost as if the very sight and presence of her takes away the pain from the past and gives him something to live for.  One night, he visits her in her room and things get a little to hot and heavy but he breaks away because he is afraid to lose control with her so they spend most of the night talking and she falls asleep in his arms.

Now, hit stop on the movie, turn one of the cable networks and tell me what you see.  I think you’ll see the tired replayed theme, “If it feels good, do it.”  You will see that hooking up with multiple partners is becoming more and more acceptable as oppose to monogamous relationships.  This is one of the reasons why I don’t watch the Real World because the script is the same;  New people meet during the day and by nightfall, all of them are in the hot tub and making out.  A couple of days later, they are engaged in drunken fights about who cleans the dishes and whose man is who and what slept with whom and that b!#@% spends too much time on the phone.  Most teens and young adults, from what I see and hear, aren’t too far from what they see on television either.  Sexuality is talked about as loosely as sports, gossip and sub-prime mortgages (Ok, not that the last one).  Take any survey with young people and I doubt not that they want to fall in love with someone and share the rest of their life with someone, but the way they go about acheieving that leads them in the opposite direction.

The movie Twilight seems to steer clear of a lot of these perversions of what modern society says relationships ought to be.  Granted, I was told about how a youth pastor did not like the fact that Edward visited Bella late at night and they spent the night together even though nothing happened.  I would be convinced that sleep in the same bed with your girlfriend or boyfriend and not having sex is not a sin if I were 100% confident in human beings.  But lets face it, human beings are impressive at times, but their restraint on their lebedos is nothing short of “impotent.”  Sleeping together with someone who isn’t your wife or husband is NEVER a good idea if your are waiting until marriage to have sex.

Having said that, the most intimate moments of the movie are when Edward and Bella are simply talking to each other.  There is one moment when they are laying down in a field together and the only thing they are doing is looking at each.  You feel awkward at first but I think the awkwardness comes from the fact that we are not use to seeing people on the big screen admiring and finding intimacy with each other without the use of hands and sex organs.  Even in the scene where things could get out of hand, he pulls back and restrains himself for fear of hurting her.  They then spend the night talking and enjoying each other’s company without the cliches we see in movies you can only buy/rent at the Christian bookstore.  Now, I have seen people in relationships and the vibe I get from some of them is, “What can I get out of this relationship?”  “Where are my needs being fulfilled?”  But here you have a relationship where they fulfill each other’s needs in spite of what they want.  Girls and guys, do you hold any standards higher than yourselves?  Does he look out for your well-being even when you don’t want him to?  Does he abuse you?  Do you demean him?

I did some Wikipedia work on the author of Twilight and it turns out the author is a Mormon who does not believe that teeanagers should be reading material that has gratuitous alcohol, drugs and sex.  She wanted to focus on LOVE, not LUST.  Putting aside what you may feel about her spiritual background, one has to admire where she is coming from.  Edward’s attraction goes far beyond sexual fulfillment.  It reminds me of a scene in the movie Hannibal

(Fast forward to 2:47 if you don’t want to see the whole scene)

edward-bella-grassAllegra DePazi: Dr. Fell, do you believe that a man can become so obsessed with a woman from a single encounter?”

Hannibal: “Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for her and find nourishment in the very sight of her? I think so. But would she see through the bars of his plight and ache for him?”

The sonnet in the Vita Nuova is referenced to in the movie with the name “Vide Cor Meum” since this refers to the Latin words in the prose introduction to the sonnet, which is also part of the Vita Nuova. In this introduction, Dante sets the time to be nine years after his first encounter with Beatrice. She appears to him again, dressed in white and with two other females and greets Dante with all her virtue. Enchanted by her sweetness and gentleness, Dante falls asleep and has a dream. In the dream he sees a mighty figure which says “Ego dominus tuus” (I’m your Lord). Beatrice is instead asleep in this figure’s arms. She brings in her arms what is recognizable as a heart and murmurs the words “Vide cor tuum” (Here’s your heart, where “Vide cor meum” means here’s my heart) while eating part of the heart. The two figures leave and Dante wakes up. He wants to tell what he has seen in the dream and writes the sonnet “A ciasun’alma presa”, the one read by Anthony Hopkins to Pazzi’s wife. Here’s the text:

A ciascun’alma presa, e gentil core,
nel cui cospetto ven lo dir presente,
in ciò che mi rescrivan suo parvente
salute in lor segnor, cioè Amore.
Già eran quasi che atterzate l’ore
del tempo che onne stella n’è lucente,
quando m’apparve Amor subitamente
cui essenza membrar mi dà orrore.
Allegro mi sembrava Amor tenendo
meo core in mano, e ne le braccia avea
madonna involta in un drappo dormendo.
Poi la svegliava, e d’esto core ardendo
lei paventosa umilmente pascea:
appresso gir lo ne vedea piangendo.

[Vita Nuova, chapter 3]

Here’s a free prose translation:
I write this piece of poetry for any soul taken by love and any noble heart,
so that they may write me back their opinion about it. I greets our lord, that is Love.
Love itself appeared suddenly to me when one third of the night had already passed.
If I think back about it I’m frightened.
Love seemed cheerful while bringing in its arms a sleeping woman wrapped in a cloth and in its hands my heart.
Love then woke her up and she ate this burning heart; it then went away crying. burning_heart1

As you may notice this sonnet may appear difficult and strange at first. It’s in fact full of symbols and fulfills the peculiar way of writing about love of the Stilnovo poetical movement. The idea is of an intellectual, erudite love, an absolute master understandable only by the ones who have a similar sensitivity and experience.  ( )

Despite the fact that Hannibal is a cannibal, he talks about a deep spiritual and emotional love that goes far beyond carnality and far beyond fantasy.  He is talking about being nurtured by the very sight of someone and that intimacy is not always acheived through sex.  Dennis Miller was talking about spouses on one of his cd’s and he said that your spouse is someone you feel comfortable doing absolutely nothing with.  In other words, spending an evening on the couch talking is better than any dream date on the streets of Paris.

For the sake of disclosure, I am not downplaying the virtures and pleasures of sex.  In fact, I am upholding it and all its ecstasies in the confines of marriage.  I believe it is a personal goal to try, with your spouse, make the face of God blush.  I say that in the context that sex with your spouse, I am told, is one of the most powerful expressions of intimacy, love and yes, physical pleasure.  I believe God wants husbands and wives to have as much sex as possible.  And since God cannot physically blush and is not shock-able, it would seem that it would be a fun, adventurous and futile attempt in getting him to do so.

We have a story on our hands of young love that is white hot with passion but is also kept in check.  They yearn for each other physically which is both natural and spiritual, but they are not willing to go down that road without some major changes (witholding spoilers as I mostly know what happens next).  Christians have this image of sexless prudes which is undeserved because it is only the single followers of Christ that are sexless.  It’s not always fun that way but we know it is something that is meant for your wife or your husband.  I cannot fathom how much sex was going on in the Garden of Eden but from what God tells us about sex is it’s something you should partake in with your spouse and to do it as much as possible.

I guess I was moved by the romatic notion of coming across someone who is not like anyone else in the world.  She is someone that scares and moves you to the very depth of your soul.  She frustrates you because you cannot quite understand everything about her but you have to be near her for because world is lonely, dark and confusing.  She is worth protecting and fighting for and you do anything in and outside your power to protect her from danger.  The mere comparison of maidens and their knights in shining armor annoy you because of their shallowness when juxtaposed to your own discovery.  Maybe such love is rare for people to find but who knows, maybe it’s out there.


3 thoughts on “The Movie Twilight, Love, Morals and Modernity

  1. Very well put; I can now comfortably defend the virtues within the novels to the ignorant legalistic folk up in Tuckston. I can definitely appreciate the uniqueness of a love story devoid of sexual passion; it’s refreshing. I think I will definitely watch the movie now, for the simple fact that something noble ought to be appreciated no matter how sappy and cliche Cedric Digory makes it. I’ll refrain from reading the books though; I have this rare gift: I can appreciate films based on books without ever reading the novel.

    Well done, haven’t read the technology blog yet, I will soon. Staff meeting is about to start, hit me up when you get back from Augusta.

    Jonathan Duncan

  2. Very nice writing. I love how you bolster your aruments and illustrate your points, even if I dont completely agree. I must say you have done fine work here.

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