Thing is, Anna Kendrick isn’t the only decent thing in it. Her turn is nowhere in the same universe as “Sils Maria,” but the things that critics love about her — her clear intelligence, her hesitant-yet-forceful line readings, her ability to seem at once uneasy and cucumber cool in front of the camera — are all over Bella.
Watching the first one now, with a recent rash of terrific performances under her belt, it’s easier to see that she hasn’t improved as an actress; we’ve just figured out how to appreciate her talents. The first “Twilight” currently lives on Netflix Instant,as does “Sils Maria.”She’s clearly better in “Sils Maria,” but she’s thrilling in “Twilight,” too, giving a fool thing much more credibility than it deserves.
Part of the skepticism seems to come from a common misconception of Stewart, who is too often best remembered for her turn as Bella in The Twilight Saga — movies that are not for everyone, but made an undeniable mountain of money nonetheless — instead of her frequently amazing performances that she gives in lesser-known films.Stewart is underappreciated as a performer, despite her passion clearly being about acting rather than stardom; she chooses roles that challenge her far more often than she does a tentpole blockbuster.The movie is a warts-and-all approach to the classic band formation/dissolution story, which Stewart is able to bring humanity and nuance to, in addition to the requisite snarling upper lip.Before Café Society, Greg Mottola's Adventureland was Stewart's only really memorable out-and-out comedic role, starring as a theme park employee — opposite her future Café Society co-star Jesse Eisenberg — in the late '80s dealing with the aimlessness that comes with the summer before college.It's almost like Wet Hot American Summer, but with far more insight into the human condition.
A smaller role than she'd go on to take post-Twilight, but an important one nonetheless.
It's a powerful and affecting performance by Stewart, and arguably her best to date.
Though Still Alice is all about Julianne Moore's performance as a woman struggling with Alzheimer's disease — for which she won an Academy Award — Stewart's turn as one of Alice's children suffering while watching her mother deteriorate deserves just as much praise.
This Peter Sattler film casts Stewart in the role of an Army Private first-class assigned as a guard at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in the wake of 9/11 and the War on Terror.
She finds herself befriending a suspected terrorist who is being held under ambiguous circumstances, leading her to question her commitment to her country and the things she believes in.
Even during her Twi-stint, she was an unusually thoughtful dream girl in “Adventureland” and a killer Joan Jett in “The Runaways.”RELATED: Interview: "Before I Fall"'s Zoey Deutch says ambition is a good thing But we’ll go one further: She’s good in “Twilight,” too. For five years, Stewart was an easy target — that awkward girl who looked out of place in an inane franchise. She was, in short, a bad actress in the worst movies in the world.