The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1

  • Review Date: November 18, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 117 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Sexy honeymoon, disturbing pregnancy dominate latest movie.
  • Review Date: November 18, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 117 minutes

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Bella doesn't rely on Edward to make an important, possibly self-sacrificing choice for her (having their baby). And despite the controversial pregnancy, the movie offers a positive outlook on what constitutes a "family" and how love can take many different forms. But Bella and Edward's marriage remains a sticky issue, since it's not widely considered a good idea for teens to consider marriage right out of high school.

Positive role models

For once, it's Bella -- not Edward -- calling the shots, so regardless of how you feel about her decision regarding her pregnancy, it's hers to make. The Cullens are all selfless, generous, and peace-loving vampires. Jacob is at his best in this installment. Despite disagreeing with Bella, he guards her life -- and just when you think he's going to do something monstrous, he redeems himself.

Violence

(Note: Potential spoiler alerts.) Although, action-wise, this isn't the most violent of the Twilight movies, the extended and unforgettably bloody birth sequence seems straight out of a horror movie (though it's still far less bloody than the description in the book). There's also lots of pain during this scene, including scalpel cuts, the sound of breaking bones, and many screams. At one point, viewers briefly see Edward biting his way through Bella's uterus; he then pulls out the bloody baby, while Bella is also covered in blood and seems about to die. Edward then attempts to revive her with his venom by biting her on all of her pulse points. Bella looks frighteningly emaciated and on death's door throughout her pregnancy, and there are a few minutes when it seems she actually has died. There are several conversations about abortion, "getting rid" of the pregnancy, and "fetus" vs. "baby" debates. Bella drinks blood on several occasions like it's a milkshake. The wolves fight each other and, in one scene, the Cullens. Jacob looks poised to beat Edward up on a couple of occasions and even agrees to kill him should Bella die in childbirth. A brief cameo by the Volturi shows their humorous (to them) decision to have a human employee killed; in a bloody nightmare sequence, the Voluturi also kill many key characters -- their bodies are shown. A flashback shows Edward violently biting and killing three unsavory men.

Sex

After sharing a couple of passionate kisses and getting married, Bella and Edward finally consummate their relationship on their honeymoon. Viewers see bare backs and other flashes of skin as Bella and Edward skinny dip (backs, chests, and a quick glimpse of Bella's breasts from the side as she embraces Edward), make out passionately in the water, and then move to the bed; there are also breathing sounds, lingerie shots, etc., and Edward is seen on top of Bella and consequently breaks the bedframe with his passion (he also bruises Bella). On another occasion, Bella has a sexy dream and wakes up pleading with Edward to make love. She also wears pretty skimpy lingerie and swimsuits. After the honeymoon, the romance is limited to one quick glimpse of the wolves and their mates kissing on the beach and some chaste embraces.

Language

Less swearing than most PG-13 movies. Words include "pissed off," "crap," "bloodsucker," "damn," and "hell."

Consumerism

The entire Cullen household is outfitted with Apple computers, Bella and Edward drive around in a Volvo (a car that's also available in real life), and there's a Tampax product placement. Off-camera, the movie franchise has huge merchandising tie-ins with cosmetics, apparel, accessories, toys, and more (even wedding dresses!).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults enjoy champagne (Bella's parents a bit too much) at Bella and Edward's posh wedding reception.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this next-to-last installment in the Twilight series is sure to attract throngs of tween, teen, and adult fans of the book-and-film phenomenon. But parents of tweens and younger teens should know that this adaptation faithfully follows the book's mature, disturbing storyline concerning an extremely dangerous pregnancy. Although the action-based violence is mostly confined to a couple of werewolf vs. vampire skirmishes, the birth scene is like something out of a horror film; it's brimming with blood and gore and agonizing pain (though still less than what was in the book). Also, after three movies of abstinence, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) finally consummate their relationship in a bed-breaking honeymoon scene that shows a lot of skin but nothing R-rated. Families wary of discussing abortion or family planning should know that much of the film deals with those issues. There are also some sad/poignant goodbye scenes.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Bella (Kristen Stewart) is finally headed down the aisle to her dazzling vampire groom, Edward (Robert Pattinson), even though it breaks her best friend, Jacob's (Taylor Lautner), heart. Thanks to her decision to remain a human until after the honeymoon (possible spoiler alerts!), the newlyweds end up conceiving a half-human, half-vampire baby whose aggressive in-utero growth will likely kill Bella. Edward wants to terminate the dangerous pregnancy, but Bella is willing to sacrifice her life for their baby. Meanwhile, Jacob breaks off from the wolf pack when alpha Sam decides the baby must be destroyed, since its birth violates the treaty between the vampires and werewolves. Bella's only chance at survival is to be turned into a vampire immediately after giving birth, but will it be too late?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Breaking Dawn is very long book, so a two-part movie finale makes sense. But this first installment is all relationship melodrama with very little action, so fans of the special effects-driven fight scenes will be disappointed. Director Bill Condon faithfully focuses on the soap-operaish bits -- the quickie wedding (which provides the movie's first and last look at Bella's hilariously confused human friends, who wonder, "Who gets married at 18?"), the romantic honeymoon, and the ensuing high-risk pregnancy that culminates in one of the most horrific birth scenes (worse than Rosemary's Baby!) ever put on film.

 

After Bella discovers her pregnancy, the movie basically turns into a pro-life discussion, which will endear some viewers and appall others. At least Lautner finally shows that he can do more than scowl and show off his six-pack as he grieves (and cries!) for his beloved best friend. Stewart and Pattinson's penchant for broodiness is perfectly matched with Bella's sickly and Edward's bereft demeanor. The thin plot (no one really believes the wolves are a threat with Jacob so devoted to Bella, so it's all about the pregnancy) is so over-the-top with the "fetus" vs. "baby" arguments that by the time the birth happens, it's just a relief to be done with the discussion. With its faithful depiction of key passages and lines, BREAKING DAWN is likely to please Twihards but could disturb casual fans.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Bella and Edward's relationship. Is 18 too young to get married? Should marriage be part of a young adult series aimed at tweens and teens?

  • Is Bella and Edward's romance a positive example for teenagers? What's your take on the mature issues of sexuality, marriage, and family planning that are addressed in the movie? Parents, take this opportunity to talk to your teens about your own family's values when it comes to these topics.

  • Because of her focus on Edward (and, to a lesser degree, Jacob), Bella has been unfavorably compared to other young-adult heroines. Why do you think she and the Twilight series remain so popular, and does this popularity convey messages to girls about girls' roles in relationships?

  • What aspects of the movie were faithful to the book? What scenes are more powerful in the book? In the movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 18, 2011
DVD release date:February 7, 2012
Cast:Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Director:Bill Condon
Studio:Summit Entertainment
Genre:Romance
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:117 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements

This review of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 was written by

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Written byAnonymous September 4, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Bad,Bad,Bad,Bad,Bad....(You get the gist)

This is a shorter twilight 117 mins but it seems like 3 hours. There was one inappropriate sex scene and is quite long. Too boring it ends well but that's about it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent Written bykkin November 18, 2011
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Good Movie but more appropriate for mature teenagers.

It is definitely not a movie for kids. It's PG 13 for a reason and I'm not sure I would take a 13 year old to it either. But it will provide lots of opportunities for discussion regarding marriage, family, and pregnancy. I liked that Bella focused on something besides Edward.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 12 year old Written bySimiMom March 29, 2011
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Perfect for older kids, but not for tweens

Not for anyone underage! Though I do like the fact that they did emphasize the no sex before marriage. That is the one good message in a Fantasy movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educator Written byflower2011 November 18, 2011
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

A Review From Someone Who Just Saw the Movie!!

Well, overall this movie was the best out of the series! It was the closest out of all the movies to the actual book. But warning, DO NOT take your five year old kids to this. This is for older teens and adults only! First, the positive message and role models are shown through Edward and Bella staying abstinent until marriage and the whole sense of family and belonging throughout the movie. There were only two bad words, the d-word, and the h-word, so the language was the least out of all of the movies. There were some very graphic scenes particulary in the birth scene with blood all over the place. The sex scene is not as bad as it was played up to be. I did not see any man or woman parts; the closest part I saw was one side of Bella's breast, but it was primarily covered up my Edward's arm in the water scene so you don't see anything. Both do jump on top of each other, move back a forth a little throughout the honeymoon scene and you see Edward's back and then he breaks the head board. In the second sex scene, Bella is in scimpy lingerie, wakes up from her dream where they passionately kiss, then gets on top of Edward, then it cuts to the next scene. Basically imagine the "almost" sex scenes from Twilight and Eclipse together, except the scenes are longer and they are naked. Most of the time you see Bella's head, legs, or stomach. Oh yes, if you do go, stay after the credits. There is an extra scene. :)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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