Bella who? Twilight star Kristen Stewart is in Cannes promoting her new film, director Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's Beat classic On the Road, and she seems downright eager to escape "the silly straitjacket of servile moping she has to perform" as Twilight's Bella Swan, says James Rocchi at IndieWire. In On the Road, Stewart trades Bella's "chaste charmlessness" for the "bed-hopping, nudity, and overall sexual licentiousness" of Marylou, the 16-year-old bride of Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund). And this isn't Stewart's only departure from the Twilight mold. In June, she stars as a "badass" action-hero version of Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman. Can Stewart pull off being more than a tween idol?
Yes. There's definitely life after Bella: It's a revelation to watch Stewart come alive as the "horny and curious" Marylou, says Kyle Buchanan at New York. But it shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Even more than her turn as rocker Joan Jett in The Runaways, Stewart's "confidently sensual" performance in On the Road "reestablishes the promising character actress last seen in Into the Wild and held captive as Twilight's leading lady for years." You can bet there's more where this came from.
"The sexual remaking of Kristen Stewart at Cannes"
Maybe not. Stewart is still stuck in Twilight: To be fair, "no characters are particularly engaging" in Salles' "ultimately joyless and unengaging" adaptation of Kerouac's unadaptable book, says Simon Gallagher at Film School Rejects. But Stewart in particular comes up short, "offering brief moments of passion, but reverting to her ice-cold angsty Bella shtick for the most part, criminally underplaying a character in Marylou who is supposed to burn with energy." This doesn't bode well.
"On the Road is a failed attempt to adapt the unadaptable"
Either way, On the Road is a good career move: Stewart's sexy Marylou is "180 degrees from Bella Swan," and obviously marks the beginning of a "totally new chapter of her career," says Maressa Brown at The Stir. Nudity? A threesome? Sex acts in the car? Stewart is clearly "letting Hollywood know she's ready and able to take on more adult roles in films that aren't exactly aimed at tweens and teens." When this opens in the U.S., Hollywood may not be impressed. But despite the risks, "I have a distinct feeling she'll be lauded for it."
"Kristen Stewart's sexy 'On the Road' clip makes us forget Bella Swan"