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by Dema Paxton Fofang and Eric Kohn
July 26, 2012 8:52 AM
13 Comments
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Critic's Notebook: How the Recent Kristen Stewart Scandal Resembles 'Adventureland'

Twilight fans were getting used to the increasingly open relationship between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison, relishing the perfect serendipity of their on-and off-screen chemistry. Now, a "momentary indiscretion" involving Stewart and "Snow White and the Huntsman" director, Rupert Sanders, has threatened to jeopardize the star-crossed romance (or at least sully Stewart's brand).

Normally, this kind of thing would not fall into Indiewire's purview. However, the interplay between art and real life is always a pertinent subject for discussion, especially when it involves legitimately talented actors like Stewart and not reality television stars. Many people associate both Stewart and Pattinson with "Twilight," of course, but they also have aligned themselves with smaller, less splashy movies that we often cover in this space. For instance, both recently starred in movies featured in this year's Cannes competition: Stewart in an adaptation of "On the Road" and Pattinson in David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis."

Could this glossy scandal taint the reception of these movies? If so, it would testify more to issues plaguing our celebrity-obsessed society than anything else. On the other hand, there remains the potential for these movies to gain awareness due to the increased attention on these stars. Whatever the ramifications, the situation does allow us to revisit another credit in Stewart's career with new relevancy.

Sure, Stewart and Pattison's romance mirrored their relationship in the "Twilight" movies as Bella and Edward: lovers against the world, battling to shelter their intimacy from shape shifters and blood-suckers alike (who provide ideal metaphors for papparrazi). However, reports of the recent infidelity scandal bear similarities to a superior film with far more grounding in real life: The 2009 coming-of-age dramady "Adventureland."

In the Sundance-acclaimed movie, Stewart plays Em, a taciturn but oft-desired teenager working at the eponymous theme park. Em's relationship with recent college grad James (Jesse Eisenberg) begins much like the Stewart and Pattison coupling: As co-workers, their on-the-job flirtations evolved into something deeper at the end of the day. Like its real life counterpart, Em and James' relationship was at first vaguely defined to those around them, just as it was somewhat unclear to the lovers themselves.

In both cases, just when the semblance of an affair started to look more legitimate to everyone involved, the intrusion of an older man complicated matters with drastic results. With the "Snow White" scandal, of course, the culprit is Sanders; in "Adventureland" it's a washed up repairman named Mike (Ryan Reynolds) who initiates an affair with Em.

Aided by writer-director Greg Mottola's intelligent script, "Adventureland" unravels its scandal by allowing its characters to come to terms with their past mistakes. It's almost too easy to superimpose the movie's plot on the real life story as a means of imagining what might happen next. Following a downward spiral, which reaches its nadir in a car crash, James overcomes his hang ups and eventually accepts Em back into his life. Whether or not the Stewart-Pattinson relationship follows the same path, we can assume that Sanders won't continue to have much to do with either them -- just as Mike eventually quit working at Adventureland.

At the end of the day, we offer this comparison not for the sake of pure schadenfreude (we'll leave the bulk of that to the gossip rags) but rather to remember that Stewart is more than pure fodder for glossy magazine covers and screaming headlines. She's an actress with serious potential still in the early stages of her career. We hope that, like Em, she's able to extricate herself from this particular kerfuffle and keep moving forward.

Embedded is a dramatic reenactment of Stewart/Sanders affair -- or, if you prefer, a scene from "Adventureland."

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13 Comments

  • Leonard | July 26, 2012 7:44 PMReply

    A pathetic excuse for an article and yet another reason why everyone is reading The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline & HitFix for ACTUAL current movie news.

    Well done Kohn. You've surpassed yourself.

  • No | July 26, 2012 1:48 PMReply

    It's really depressing when I read the comments on almost any websites, those that I peruse: Mediate, Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, Indiewire, etc. The lack of intelligent response is nearly the same: venom and viciousness, an inability and a wanton disregard to address the issue that the writer is speaking about. People don't know how to disagree with a premise without making it a personal attack or ascribing the most base motives to the writer. Americans have just become an incredibly vicious lot of know-things. It's really sad when you read the comments of your fellow citizens who can't even discuss movies or an actors work without subscribing to a torrent of obscenities. There is nothing wrong with freedom of expression, but like any freedom it can be abused. BTW: I liked Stewart in "Adventureland," which also had Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. Maybe Stewart, if she hasn't already done so, will make a mea culpa appearance on SNL.

  • Denise | July 26, 2012 12:00 PMReply

    You are ho'ing for click dollars like everybody else. Don't try to act like you're above it. Adventureland is only another Kristen Stewart indie flop nobody went to see. The talentless bitch wrecked a family and you're acting like she's Meryl Streep. Shut it down.

  • tara | July 26, 2012 1:37 PM

    right, you need to calm. the f-k. down.

    The mistress is not the one who has the power to wreck a family. It's the husband, whom is actually IN the family who has betrayed them. And yes, the industry finds her talented, your opinion on that doesn't matter.

    I loved Adventureland, tons of ppl saw it in theatres, not for her, but for the director. The success and failure of a film doesn't rest on the shoulders of a secondary character.

  • paul | July 26, 2012 10:41 AMReply

    well she made her bad. let her lay in it. i guess the next big story will be whether or not her bf will take her back. i guess the director isn't going to be doing anything for awhile.

  • No | July 26, 2012 10:15 AMReply

    This is a shitty article and premise for an article. You should be better than this.

  • Peter | July 26, 2012 11:18 AM

    What's amazing is that Indiewire imagines itself better than the rest of the ghouls feeding off this. At least Lainey's honest.

    The last line set-up of this article is the clearest indication of its true premise. Does anyone really believe talking about a 3 year old film is of any interest right now?

  • James | July 26, 2012 10:17 AM

    I agree completely.

  • Molly | July 26, 2012 9:55 AMReply

    "Normally, this kind of thing would not fall into Indiewire's purview. "

    Fuck off. You were tweeting the US Weekly article yesterday and loving it. Hypocrites.

  • Molly | July 26, 2012 7:47 PM

    Grow up Eric. This article is completely related to that tweet. I don't have a 'beef' as you so ghetto-ly call it, I have a point. And it's a good one.

  • Eric | July 26, 2012 11:58 AM

    Take a deep breath. The Playlist is part of our blog network but makes its own decisions about what appears on their feed. Your beef is with them, not us.

  • Molly | July 26, 2012 11:14 AM

    The Playlist is part of Indiewire and this was tweeted. https://twitter.com/ThePlaylist/status/228119140186062850

    If you're going to lie, lie better.

  • Eric | July 26, 2012 9:58 AM

    This is incorrect. We did not tweet the link to the US Weekly article yesterday.