Total Recall: Kristen Stewart's Best Movies
We count down the best-reviewed work of the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 star.
5. The Runaways
If she was at all concerned about Twilight typecasting, Stewart could hardly have picked a better way to fight it than playing Joan Jett to Dakota Fanning's Cherie Currie in The Runaways. Not only did Floria Sigismondi's biopic of the groundbreaking (albeit short-lived) band give Stewart the chance to adopt a tough rock-and-roll swagger, but her striking resemblance to Jett helped remind filmgoers she'd always been more than Bella Swan. And by most accounts, Stewart nailed her performance, projecting a combination of pent-up aggression and teenage insecurity that helped make The Runaways more than just a $10 million episode of Behind the Music. While a sizable number of critics felt the movie didn't delve deep enough, most considered it an exceptionally well-acted biopic, with Stewart, Fanning, and Michael Shannon repeatedly singled out for their work. Perhaps no one went further than Cinemablend's Josh Tyler, who gushed, "Kristen Stewart is a modern day James Dean."
Between his smash hits Elf and Iron Man, Jon Favreau directed a little family sci-fi thriller called Zathura. Adapted from the book of the same name by author Chris Van Allsburg (Jumanji), Zathura follows the fantastical adventures of a pair of quarreling brothers (played by Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson) whose squabbles reach epic proportions when they make the mistake of playing the titular board game, which magically transports their house into outer space -- and the middle of a battle with alien creatures called Zorgons. In the middle of all this chaos is Kristen Stewart as the boys' older sister, who spends a decent portion of the film in cryogenic deep freeze. A thankless role, perhaps, and Zathura went down as a rather surprising commercial failure -- but as far as most critics were concerned, the movie did exactly what it was supposed to. As David Edwards wrote for the Daily Mirror, "Zathura is one of those rare movies that should appeal to kids and adults alike thanks to a great little storyline, neat special effects and a genuinely likeable cast."
3. Panic Room
After some early uncredited roles (including one in The Flinstones: Viva Rock Vegas) and an appearance in The Safety of Objects, Stewart received her first big break with David Fincher's Fight Club follow-up, the 2002 thriller Panic Room. It presented a tremendous opportunity for Stewart, who not only shared her scenes with Jodie Foster as her on-screen mom, but spent most of the movie trapped in a single room. Of course, Fincher being Fincher, Panic Room livened up its claustrophobic premise with plenty of style, but still -- this is a movie about two women hiding in their home from a crew of burglars, and if Stewart hadn't been able to hold her own against Foster in the acting department, none of it would have worked. A respectable $196 million worldwide hit, Room prompted slight disappointment from critics who yearned for another subversive, Fight Club-style jolt from Fincher, but Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post spoke for the majority when he called it "powerfully manipulative, quite clever and full of evil ambition."
One of 2007's most critically lauded, award-hungry films, Into the Wild adapted the true-life story of Christopher McCandless, a young, uncompromising idealist who shed his material possessions and embarked on a solitary journey that ultimately took him into the Alaskan wilderness -- and to his death. McCandless has been an understandably divisive figure since Jon Krakauer made his story famous with a non-fiction book (also titled Into the Wild) retracing his doomed path, but for director Sean Penn, his tale was tragic and arguably noble -- and Emile Hirsch's empathetic portrayal of McCandless made it easy to see why. Given the nature of the story, Hirsch necessarily dominated Wild, but Penn lined up a stellar supporting cast that included William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, and (of course) Kristen Stewart. Here, Stewart plays Tracy Tatro, a girl McCandless meets while passing through a Southern California desert commune -- and ultimately leaves behind so he can camp out in an abandoned bus. Along with most of McCandless' decisions, it's a little hard to fathom -- but for most critics, the lessons of his life were rich and profound. As Bill Goodykoontz wrote for the Arizona Republic, "though it's easy to dismiss McCandless' hippified musings and near-suicidal choices as the misguided actions of a kid who read Walden a little too closely in college, Penn's film aims for something more, a deeper telling of a tale of yearning and escape."
For his follow-up to Superbad, director Greg Mottola opted for another coming-of-age story -- but Adventureland is far from a carbon copy of its predecessor, offering a darker, subtler, far more personal take on life at the cusp of adulthood. This time around, Mottola, who wrote the script, took filmgoers back to the late 1980s to tell the tale of James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), a recent college graduate whose dreams of a celebratory trip to Europe are shattered by his suddenly cash-poor parents. Finding the summer job market lacking, James is forced to take a job at the local theme park, where he meets Em (Kristen Stewart), an NYU student with a rocky home life and a thing for older men who look like Ryan Reynolds. As you can probably tell, Adventureland doesn't offer quite as many yuks as Superbad; unfortunately, the studio's marketing campaign decided to focus on Mottola's recent past, and the trailer focused on testicle-punching gags instead of the movie's more thoughtful side. Perhaps as a result, Adventureland didn't make a ton of money during its theatrical run -- but it was a big hit with critics, who appreciated Mottola's obvious affection for his characters and the authentically 1980s touches dotting the screen. The cast earned high marks, too, including Stewart, who prompted Tom Long of the Detroit News to write, "Yes, you've seen much of it before, and the nervous James character is now officially a cliché. But Stewart makes you care anyway. This, folks, is an actress."
In case you were wondering, here are Craig's top 10 movies according RT users' scores:
1. Into the Wild -- 90%
2. Twilight -- 82%
3. The Twilight Saga: New Moon -- 78%
4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse -- 74%
5. The Safety of Objects -- 65%
6. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 -- 63%
7. Panic Room -- 61%
8. The Yellow Handkerchief -- 60%
9. Welcome to the Rileys -- 59%
10. Fierce People -- 59%
Finally, here's Stewart in one of her earliest roles -- playing "Girl in Fountain Line" in the made-for-TV movie The Thirteenth Year: