Essays · Movies

Death to All Vampires: The Evolution of Kristen Stewart

From the shadows of a shallow franchise to the peak of cinematic brilliance.
Personal Shopper
By  · Published on April 10th, 2017

I’m a little ashamed to say I didn’t see it at first.

I knew who Kristen Stewart was before Twilight happened – she’s the daughter from Panic Room – but whatever I thought of her acting skills was swept under the rug of her immediate and immense popularity on account of that vampire crap. It was like 1997 and the year of DiCaprio all over again. No one that popular could be worth a damn, I naively thought, that’s just some teeny-bopper shit. So yeah, I wrote her off, I thought of her as just another starry-eyed, fame-seeking, Hollywood girl-bot, more fodder for romantic comedies and redemptive domestic dramas, a slightly-better Jennifer Garner, or a slightly-worse Anna Kendrick.

But then I saw Clouds of Sils Maria.

And now I stand before you a humbled convert. Not only was everything I thought about Kristen Stewart absolutely, 100% wrong, the opposite has in fact revealed itself as the truth: she is without a doubt one of the most interesting, daring, and deft actresses of her generation, and her recent slate of films – Sils Maria, Still Alice, Equals, Certain Women, Personal Shopper – proves that she has about as much interest in being what the industry wants her to be as she does in making another Twilight film, which is to say none whatsoever.

Her path to here is an amazing story in and of itself, and one recounted in the latest video from Mr. Nerdista, “The Evolution of Kristen Stewart,” which in eight succinct minutes traces her rise to stardom and beyond, the latter part being where things get really interesting.

The moral of all this: don’t judge an actor by their intro to the A-list, judge them by what they do once they get there. By that criteria, Kristen Stewart is one of the finest in her field.

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