We have been eagerly anticipating Robert Pattinson’s return to the small silver screen for some time now, and it seems like he has not disappointed. The British actor has delivered an incredible movie starring in the cult hit Dunkirk, and recently wrapped production on Wayward Pines, a terrifying psychological thriller set in a mysterious town that draws inspiration from the works of Franz Kafka. While fans have been patiently waiting for these projects to reach theaters, the former Forbes magazine cover boy has spent the last few years living a rather private life, filming movies and taking up temporary residence in various countries’ luxury hotels. In light of this recent behavior, it is no coincidence that his return to the small screen has coincided with a public and cultural obsession with food and drink.
Pattinson’s new film, Married Life, marks the actor’s debut as a leading man and signals the beginning of a new cinematic phase. The movie finds the star playing the quintessential ‘everyman’ character, a man struggling to build a life with his high-school sweetheart (played by Emma Roberts) in the wake of their whirlwind courtship. We’ve come to expect big things from Roberts, and she continues to prove why she is one of Hollywood’s most promising up-and-coming stars, bringing her trademark charm and energy to the screen.
Roberts’ character is a dedicated homemaker who yearns for the simple, ordered life of a housewife, and it is precisely because of this wholesome energy that she is able to so effectively play the part. In a film that is essentially a comedy, it is key that the audience can relate to the character, which makes Emma Roberts’ character a worthy successor to one of cinema’s greatest leading ladies, Grace Kelly.
Echoes Of Hollywood’s Golden Age
If there is one thing that Hollywood movies from the ’40s through the ’70s have in common, it is the marriage of attractive, well-bred individuals. Think My Fair Lady, Bewitched, Father Knows Best, The Dick Tracy… You get the point. These films celebrate traditional, ‘good’ family values and the wholesomeness of the ‘50s and ‘60s. While these movies often feature cameos by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars (as it is a major feat to find an A-list actor who is willing to appear in a B-movie), the leads are generally chosen for their good looks and are often a combination of the blonde and the brunette, as it was considered ‘acceptable’ during this time for women to be both pretty and intelligent.
Pattinson’s film throws the actor’s considerable charm into sharp, witty contrast against the stodgy, sometimes dreary world that is his wife’s family. With his blue eyes and boyish good looks, it is no surprise that audiences have responded to him, as they always seem to with gorgeous leading men. For once, however, this beautiful face is on the opposite end of the camera, as he plays opposite one of cinema’s most promising young actresses in Married Life. It is difficult to imagine a more ideal husband for Roberts, and much like My Fair Lady, this film also features some lovely banter between the leads that brings an extra dimension to the story. For instance, one of the couple’s first lines of dialogue serves as an indication of how charming they might be as a couple: “Do you come here often?” “Not especially, no,” she replies.
“It’s a lovely room,” he continues.
“I like it when it’s just me and the guests.”
A Bit Of A Change
While watching Married Life, one might be forgiven for wondering whether this is indeed the same Robert Pattinson who rose to fame as the heartthrob of Twi- and Harry Potter-crazy girls around the world. Even his most diehard fans may be surprised by the change that has taken place in the meantime. Pattinson has evolved into a talented actor who can play both high- and low-profile roles with equal aplomb, whether it is a comedy like Married Life or a gritty crime drama like The Lost Baby.
The key to understanding the evolution of this ‘new’ Pattinson is to look back at his earlier films. We will start with the critically acclaimed Bel Ami, a film that received widespread critical acclaim and introduced us to the sophisticated charms of Robert Pattinson. This movie is considered by many to be one of the greatest of all time, and the leading man was undoubtedly born to play the part of a cynical playboy named Rodolphe. This is a role that the British actor has played several times in his career and will play again in Married Life, the latest cinematic adaptation of Bel Ami. A masterpiece of silent filmmaking, the 1922 original was directed by Maurice Tourneur and starred an incredible roster of Hollywood luminaries, including Wallace Fox, Louise Brooks, and Conrad Veidt. The plot follows Rodolphe, who is torn between his affection for a married woman (played by Louise Brooks) and his desire to live a life of debauchery, which is epitomized by his affair with an unrepentant tart (played by Marjorie Merriweather).
Tourneur’s film is a classic example of the marriage narrative that we have come to associate with the golden age of Hollywood cinema. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Wayward Pines, a film that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and continues to generate headlines for its twisted take on reality television. In this unnerving psychological thriller, a young Charlie Wards (played by Matt Dillon) discovers that the world he inhabits is a twisted version of The Twilight Zone. In an interview with the New York Times, director Rafael Alcala described the film as “part documentary, part fiction, part satire, part love letter.” The movie’s premise finds the audience in the midst of a reality show, trapped in a dangerous game of cat and mouse as Wards and his friends and family try to figure out what is real and what is scripted. While serving as yet another example of life imitating art, the film offers further proof that Robert Pattinson is as comfortable inhabiting the minds of others as he is playing the role of a charming rake.
Why 2019 Is The Year Of The Actor
With so much focus on the box office and trends, it is easy to forget about the role that film stars play in society. While some may still prefer to be found in a film’s ‘highlights’ reel’, movie stars nowadays are considered modern day celebrities, earning their keep well beyond their on-screen performances with lucrative endorsement deals, lucrative TV guest appearances, and even successful restaurant chains. As more people choose to spend their time immersed in digital media, it is no surprise that we are seeing a rise in the number of famous faces making the transition to screenwriting, producing, and directing, as these are the jobs that best suit their talents.
These are exciting times to be a fan of film, especially if you happen to be an actor who is looking to break into movies. Actors who had previously focused their attention on theater are now seeking to transition to the big screen, resulting in some incredible opportunities for both established and up-and-coming stars alike. In the words of Sir Howard Stringer, “the world is your oyster.”