Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Twilight Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Teen fans will love faithful -- if uneven -- adaptation.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 120 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 156 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 631 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Bella and Edward's relationship sends a somewhat mixed message to teens -- it's chaste and loving, but it could also be perceived as obsessive. The Cullens are a very loyal family, and they strive to rise above their baser vampire instincts.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bella is mature and smart, but she can also be dependent and fragile. Edward is respectful and gallant, though often somewhat angsty. Contemporary Native Americans are featured respectfully.


A lot of the violence is implied: There are fast shots of vampires right before they kill their prey (both human and animal). A group of guys follows Bella down a dark alley and starts harassing her; Edward threatens them. A predatory vampire tries to kill Bella. There's a bloody, vicious fight between an evil vampire and the Cullens. Bella is seriously hurt and ends up in the hospital. Charlie, a sheriff, has weapons, including a shotgun.


As in the book, Bella and Edward have an intensely romantic (though overall fairly chaste) relationship. They stare and gaze at each other lovingly and share some passionate embraces and a couple of kisses, including one make-out session that takes place on a bed while Bella's in her underwear. Other couples flirt, hold hands, and swoon at each other.


Incredibly mild for a PG-13 film, just like the book: "repulsive," "vile," "dammit."


Brands featured include Volvo, Hummer, Mercedes, Mac, BMW, Lays potato chips, Body Glove, and Southwest. Most appearances are subtle, though Edward's Volvo has some big moments.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No drinking or smoking by underage characters. Bella's dad and his friend stock up with cans of beer for an afternoon together but aren't actually shown drinking them. Bella gives her dad an unopened can of beer in one scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this adaptation of author Stephenie Meyer's youth culture phenomenon Twilight was one of the most anticipated movies of 2008. Millions of kids 10 to 18 have read the books, and many more are familiar with them. Like the novel, the film features an intense romantic relationship between a gorgeous vampire and a human girl. There are a few kisses and several stares, hand touches, and embraces. One make-out session takes place on a bed with the girl in her underwear, but it's abruptly stopped. The movie's violence is mostly implied, but there's one particularly disturbing scene involving vampires, blood, a bitten human with a broken limb, and the destruction of an evil vampire. Language and drinking aren't issues; product placement is mostly limited to cars -- Volvo, Hummer, Mercedes, etc.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 4-year-old Written byRodriguez2 September 18, 2010

Why not just tell your daughters they must lose their soul to gain happiness?

This movie romances the idea of stalkers and poor female role models. It reduces the prominent female to helpless without her (vampire) companion. This is not a... Continue reading
Adult Written byvicky92 September 14, 2010

Tell your kids to read the books first!!

I gave it 2 stars for how bad this movie is, film wise, but it's totally ok for any age. The only thing I didn't agree with was Bella making out with... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bybecca456 May 14, 2015

The worst movie I have ever watched

This movie is absolutely crap. The acting is incredibly poor, the special effects are humorous and the message is terrible. Seriously, I laughed the whole way t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byIsaacboy September 16, 2013


You shouldn't watch this movie. It's not good. I bet that you will fall asleep 20 minutes in the movie.

What's the story?

TWILIGHT is based on Stephenie Meyer's bestselling young adult novel that's hooked millions of tween girls (and their mothers). Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is a smart, mature teenager who moves from sunny Phoenix to live with her father, Charlie (Billy Burke), in the rainiest city in the country -- tiny Forks, Wash. At school, Bella encounters five gorgeous, aloof, alabaster-skinned siblings. One of them, auburn-haired Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), is assigned as her science partner, and soon Bella starts crushing on the mysterious, charming, super-strong guy. He likes her, too -- in fact, he'd love nothing more than to suck her blood, because he's a vampire. But unlike most evil undead, Edward and his family are "vegetarians" who stick to animal blood in order to live among humans. Can a human girl and a vampire boy overcome his kind's thirst for blood and find true love?

Is it any good?

Director Catherine Hardwicke nails the teen emotions and relationships, and she stays surprisingly faithful to the novel. But while the Bella-Edward romance is appropriately swoony, other parts of the film are quite schlocky and even unintentionally funny (like Edward's facial expressions at his first whiff of Bella's intoxicating scent). While some of the supporting cast is spot-on (Ashley Greene is pixie-ish and graceful as prescient vampire Alice, and Burke's Charlie is exactly the kind of loving-but-hands-off father Meyer describes), other characters -- like Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed) -- are reduced to one note. In Rathbone's case, he's a statue with overly gelled locks and a permanent look of irritation that got many laughs. But cosmetic issues aside, most of the characters -- right down to the villainous vampires led by James (Cam Gigandet) -- act like their counterparts in the novel.

From Edward's shiny silver Volvo and Bella's beat-up red truck to the glittery meadow scene, the lullaby and the longing looks, Hardwicke and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg have included most of the book's essential details. But moviegoers who have no idea why so many girls in the audience are wearing "Team Edward" tees will find aspects of Twilight silly and superficial. Clearly, the real story is the Bella-Edward romance, and in that respect the film should appease hardcore Twilighters (the on-screen kisses are even more passionate than in the book). Stewart does Bella justice with her constant clumsiness and her serious gazes. Pattinson is dreamy and intense, although it would've been better had the British actor perfected a more refined American accent. When the star-struck couple first leaps through the trees together or kisses, brace yourself for applause and giddy shrieks. Those who don't mind teen love served with a side of cheese (and bloodlust) will enjoy it. And no matter what, it's going to be an absolute must-see for the series' teen-vampire-adoring fans.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the various themes that have made Twilight and its sequels such a huge success: first (and forbidden) love, restraint in getting intimate, everlasting and unconditional romance, and heart-thumping adventure. 

  • Do you think Bella is a good role model for teen girls? Why or why not? Do you think she and Edward have a healthy relationship?

  • If you've read the book, did the film meet your expectations? What changes were good for the film? What scenes did you miss from the novel?

  • Why do you think the books and the movie have inspired such fanatical devotion? For more talking points, check out our article.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love teen romance

Themes & Topics

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