I didn’t think I would like the Twilight movies/books when I first heard of them in 2008. I remember thinking, golly, I’m too old for this teenage puppy sappy love story.
Until now. Earlier this year, when I was on a plane to Shanghai to visit family, I decided to watch the second installment of the saga, New Moon. It was a long trip and I was desperate for anything that was entertaining.
I wasn’t too impressed with New Moon, but it did peak my interest for the first movie. There were too many references to the first movie that left me curious. So when I came back from my trip, I went to iTunes, paid $9.99, and downloaded Twilight.
At the end of the movie, I was in tears, and then had to buy the rest of the e-books from Amazon.com – Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I just had to know how the story panned out.
It wasn’t so much the writing or the plot. The plot has been retold many other times, and Stephanie Meyer’s writing, while humorous and folksy at times, left much to be desired. One thing I do appreciate, though – her emphasis was on developing the characters’ relationships, and not so much on vampire gore or social commentary which had been the focus of most vampire stories. It also wasn’t because of the young, beautiful actors. At some point, I actually felt like a perv when I found the young kids attractive. I mean, I am old enough to be their mother!
What caught me off guard was the hopelessness projected by two extremely different but should have been antagonistic people who were determined to make it work despite the cards they were dealt with. One was a frail human who had low self-esteem and a finite lifespan, and the other was a self-hating vampire who couldn’t really die and had a yearning to eat this human. Their love (or co-dependence, depending on your point of view) was so great, that they fought through human and vampire issues to be together for all eternity. Literally.
When summarized like that, it sounded like a cheesy movie plot. But as a woman who is struggling with mid-life crisis and feeling the melancholic, unforgiving passage of time, the intense despair projected by the characters somehow blanketed me with soothing understanding. It was as if someone patted me on my shoulder, hugged me deep to the bones, and said, “There there, I totally get it.”
Neither one of the characters was completely happy until the very end, when they stayed bonded in the vampire world. For, who could be happy even if one could live for eternity but alone, thinking about what should have been? Or, who could live with abandonment, knowing one’s lifespan is limited but wanting more to live? It all came down to “making it work” through the hardships and pain, finding strength in the glimmer of fragile hope along the way.
And that’s where I was when I saw the movie. I was becoming more and more aware of my mortality with the last few birthdays, yet not being able to move my life forward due to various reasons. I despaired about the future. But I also knew that I had to keep plodding on, to keep working on making it work. There’s no other way, because I don’t have eternity to get my life right. I only have another 40 years or so.
I have to make it work with the cards I’ve been dealt with. Just like Bella and Edward.