“Success is always something completely different to people. I feel like I’ve succeeded if I’m doing something that makes me happy and I’m not lying to anybody.”
More often than not, actors and actresses who reprise the same role in franchise films for quite some time often lose their identity. Kristen Stewart, who played the shy and nervous teenager Bella Swan in the Twilight series, was often referred to as Bella in real life as well. However, the actress’ talent and incredible skills to fit into the skin of any character have helped her transcend that compartmentalization, forging a prolific career that has transcended multiple genres and varying degrees of cinema.
Although she started acting from a very young age, Stewart was very shy and “never wanted to be the centre of attention”. She always knew of her thirst for success, but never imagined that acting would be the career she would pursue. An agent noticed her at the age of eight in a school Christmas play and very soon she started bagging roles in films. Later, her major film debut arrived in 2002 where she won a nomination for Young Artist Award for her performance as Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room.
Stewart’s deadpan expressions and introverted demeanour often blend in well with the characters she portrays and brings out their inner pain and anguish as well as conflicts quite well. After securing various other roles and delivering distinguished performances, with the most notable one being that of a girl who goes nearly mute after being raped in Speak, it was in 2008 that Stewart gained worldwide fame, becoming the highest-paid actress from 2010 to 2012. She landed the role of Bella Swan alongside her then-boyfriend Robert Pattinson – who played her love interest and vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight films adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling novels. Stewart has garnered a critically acclaimed reputation following a number of starring roles in various indie films.
A private person, Stewart’s introverted nature is often mistaken for aloofness. However, she is a strong role model for young people and encourages them to be themselves irrespective of what is being demanded of them. Known for her candid and honest self, Stewart has risen above hatred and is one of the most hard-working actresses out there, one who presents her unabashed self to the world. From appearing to premieres and film festivals barefoot to refusing to comply with paps, she is always unapologetically herself.
As this talented actress turns 31 today, we take a look at the Netflix films starring Kristen Stewart to wish her a very happy birthday. Let’s get to it.
Kristen Stewart films available on Netflix:
The Runaways (Floria Sigismondi, 2010)
This biographical drama revolves around the rise and fall of the eponymous 1970s rock band The Runaways. Cherie Currie, a David Bowie stan, is a passionate and ambitious rock musician in this film. Joan Jett and Sandy West, who want to start a band together, suddenly discover her and are impressed by her talent; this leads to a rise in their stardom. During this, they deal with various internal conflicts regarding favouritism. Cherie deals with addiction problems that threaten to disrupt and dismantle the band altogether.
Sigismondi was amazed by the fact that these fearless girls “were doing things that girls weren’t supposed to do, especially at 15.” Kristen Stewart’s performance as Joan Jett was noteworthy in the film that upheld the emotional and psychological turmoil these girls went through to recognise their identity within the realm of rock ‘n’ roll. However, the film has been heavily criticised for focusing completely on Cherie and not giving the other girls, especially Joan, the space to tell her story and assert her voice.
“We are not to blame for seeing love is pain. We’re not ashamed to say love is pain. To say that love is pain. And I’ll do it again.”
Into the Wild (Sean Penn, 2007)
Disillusioned with the ways of the world, Emory University graduate Christopher McCandless decides to leave modern society after discovering his lineage of being born out of wedlock. He rejects the conventional lifestyle and donates all his possessions before hitting the road in his Datsun 210 to live a life in the wilderness. He gradually meets various kinds of people, all of whom have a major contribution to shaping his experiences and making him understand the meaning of life in general.
A well-developed story reflects on the poignance of life. The character studies are subtle and profound and Emile Hirsch as the disenchanted Christopher McCandless delivers a surreal performance. Kristen Stewart plays a teenage Tracy Tatro who shows genuine interest in McCandless but ends up getting rebuffed as she is underage. The film gives a brilliant insight into survival, humanity and relationships in modern society.
“You don’t need human relationships to be happy, God has placed it all around us.”
Snow White and the Huntsman (Rupert Sanders, 2012)
A twisted adaptation of the very popular childhood fable of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as composed by the legendary Grimm Brothers, the film sees Snow White’s father being killed by the sorceress Ravenna, who eventually takes over the kingdom of Tabor. She gets to know from the Magic Mirror that consuming Snow White’s heart will help her retain her youthful beauty and power. She appoints a widowed alcoholic Huntsman to help capture Snow White. However, when the Huntsman sees through the evil queen’s plan, he aids Snow White to escape her evil clutches and destroy Ravenna before it is too late.
This was a very eventful film in the life of Kristen Stewart who played the lead role of Snow White. Besides getting to work alongside a talented cast that included Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth and Sam Claflin, she had to overcome her fear of riding horses as well as to adapt to using an English accent which she mastered in less than four months and portrayed Snow with passion and dedication. In this directorial debut of Sanders, the film won two Academy Award nominations. This was also the film that experienced an affair between Stewart and Sanders leading to Stewart’s break-up with her longstanding boyfriend Robert Pattinson, which shocked and broke fans’ hearts.
“Death favours no man. We must ride like thundering waves under the tattered battle flag of my father.”
Zathura: A Space Adventure (Jon Favreau, 2005)
A spin-off of the widely popular Jumanji franchise, this film focuses on the predicament of two brothers when they play a mysterious game they stumble upon in the basement. Constantly bickering with each other as well as their sister Lisa, Danny and Walter discover a game that transports their house into the dark outer space and sends their sister into a cryonic sleep. Soon, they all discover that they need to win the game to return to normalcy and for that, they must stick together as a family.
Kristen Stewart played the teenage Lisa who was widely ignorant to her brothers and busy with her own life. As the boys engage in a game of Zathura, she was in a state of stasis and completely oblivious to the problems her brother landed her in. when she finds out, she has to stick to her brothers and support them in winning the game. With first-class visuals and promising an epic space adventure, this film is a great audio-visual source of family entertainment.
“You guys actually set the house on fire?”