It seems like it was only yesterday that we were lamenting the fact that 2016 wasn’t going to be the big rebound comeback year for Robert Pattinson. The “Twilight Saga” star’s bad 2015 was followed by another underwhelming year in Hollywood, where he starred in critically panned films such as Good Time and The Lost City.
But since the dawn of 2020, Pattinson has quietly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men. Last year, he starred in three critically acclaimed movies — including the genre-bending sci-fi thriller, The Lighthouse — and picked up two wins at the prestigious Golden Globes, one for Best Actor and the other for Best Supporting Actor. Most impressively, those three movies made a combined total of $30 million at the box office. That’s more than enough to make up for last year’s poor showing. Moreover, 2020 has now firmly planted Pattinson in the public consciousness as one of Hollywood’s premier male actors.
1. Beautiful People
Arguably the most iconic look of the 21st century so far has got to be the “blessed glow.” It was first seen on the red carpet at the 2004 Oscars, when actor Robert Pattinson made a stunning appearance in a black-and-white tuxedo with a glow coming from underneath. The actor then went on to win the award for Best Actor for his role in the movie, The Lost City. Since then, the “blessed glow” has been copied (and sometimes faked) countless times by celebrities and social media stars alike. Whether you love his work or you’ve just seen it once or twice, there’s no denying that the look is uniquely recognizable. (And no, it is not a trick light; he genuinely glows.)
Though we didn’t get to see a lot of Robert Pattinson in 2016, his starring role in the epic vampire movie, The Eclipse, was one of the best things we got to experience that year. Directed by Tarsem Singh, the film follows a London taxi driver, played by Pattinson, as he navigates the streets during one of the city’s periodic blackouts. The film centers around the chaos that breaks out when vampires and werewolves vie for control of the city’s inhabitants during the night. It’s an interesting premise that sees Tarsem Singh (The Tiger, 1998) at the helm, and it’s worth experiencing just to see what this talented directorcook up. (You might not even recognize him in this role, as he almost entirely subsists on cigarettes and coffee throughout.) If you’re a fan of the Twilight franchise, it’s worth seeking out this movie. (And if you’ve never seen it, now’s the perfect opportunity to rectify that oversight.)
3. The Lighthouse
Another movie that changed the game for its protagonist is The Lighthouse. Directed by Robert Pattinson, the movie is a sci-fi adventure that pits a shy and reserved young lighthouse keeper, Willie (Pattinson), against a brutal and sadistic sea captain, Clive (Laurence Fishburne). The captain is pursuing a twisted scheme to kidnap children and sell them into slavery. Essentially, The Lighthouse is a story about the battle of the souls between two men — and how they both change over time as a result of their interactions with each other. The movie’s climax sees Willie literally shining in a battle against the forces of evil that have dogged him since he arrived at the lighthouse 14 years earlier.
For many reasons, this is one of the most memorable movies of the past few years. Not only is it an incredibly well-crafted narrative that seamlessly weaves together action, drama, and intrigue, but it also features one of the greatest supporting turn by an actor in recent memory. (The entire cast is completely fascinating, from Fishburne’s sadistic Captain to Charlie Hunnam’s brazenly charming Billy Magnussen.) Robert Pattinson shines as the tortured lighthouse keeper who finally finds the rapturous solitude he’s been longing for since boyhood. You won’t miss a single moment of this incredibly intense cinematic experience. (Orphan Black’s Alison Brie is fantastic in a supporting role.)
4. High School
Finally, let’s not forget about the amazing cast of High School, a dark comedy directed by Drake Doorstep. In this movie, which premiered at Sundance in January 2019, a nerf herding gang of misfits band together to take on the school’s cruel headmaster (Richard Simmons). Along with Simmons, the High School cast features a fantastic ensemble, including Olivia Sukhareva, Gianni Maieros, and Ricky Ullah Brown as the school’s most popular student. What’s great about this movie is that when you’re watching it, you don’t quite realize how dark it is. (Which is probably why it was such a flop back in 1939.) In some scenes, the violence is genuinely shocking. In others, not so much. (But that’s the great thing about unpredictable comedy. You never know what you’re going to get.)
The point is that this is a dark and funny movie that will appeal to a wide audience, and it serves as a wonderful example of the versatility of Robert Pattinson. In the past, the actor has played a variety of characters in movies ranging from nerf-obsessed antiheroes to sexy vampires to tortured souls. Now, he is finally stepping out of his comfort zone and trying something new, and it’s paying off.
5. The Curse of the Snowman
Speaking of which, let’s not forget about The Curse of the Snowman, one of the most exciting and mysterious films in recent memory. This Netflix original is an adventure drama that tells the story of a cursed Snowman who needs to be sorted through the pages of a fantastical children’s book in order to be freed. (If you’ve never heard of the Snowman tradition, it’s probably time you should’ve.) Directed by Michael Snow (The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1995), The Curse of the Snowman is one of the most hotly anticipated indie horror movies of the year. (In fact, it’s even attracting a huge mainstream audience. At the time of this writing, the movie has over 2.7 million views on YouTube.) Not only does it feature some great scares, but it also marks a major milestone for its troubled star, Bill Milner, who tackles the role of a lifetime — that of a mental patient who becomes convinced that he is a ventriloquist’s dummy. (As with all Netflix movies, the actors’ talents shine through regardless of the small screen time they have.) We can’t wait to see what Michael Snow — a master of horror fiction — has in store for us in 2022.
Speaking of which, let’s not forget about Pattinson, the remarkable documentary about the actor’s life and career, Pattinson. Directed by Olivia Uchitel, the movie follows a year in the life of the ginger-haired actor, documenting both his professional and private struggles. (What’s great about this movie is that it doesn’t portray Rob as an ‘entitled’ Hollywood brat whose star rises and falls with the fame and fortunes of his fans. Instead, it gives a nuanced view of a complicated young man who is navigating the often-torturous road to becoming a major Hollywood star.)
Watching Pattinson is like being at a supercharged version of high school. The cast is filled with wonderful actresses and actors who have gone on to bigger and better things, including some of our personal favorites like Emma Roberts, Camila Camarena, and Bridget Taylor. (Though the standout performance comes from Uchitel herself, who plays a crucial role in getting the story told.)
Whether you’ve never heard of the Twilight franchise or you’ve seen every single one of Rob’s movies, Pattinson is still worth checking out. It’s an incredible insight into one of the most fascinating actors of our time. (Though it could use a little bit more face time.)