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Little Ashes: Will Twilight's Pattinson Pull Women?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 6, 2009 at 5:57AM

We know how women respond to Rob Pattinson as Edward Cullen in Twilight . I knew the second I saw the first teaser trailer that he was a new heartthrob. He's dishy. In IFC's on-demand release, the British micro-indie How to Be, he plays a depressed loser version of himself. Not a big reach. On the other hand, Pattinson stretches quite a bit as Salvador Dali in Little Ashes, a European art film with a cultural pedigree. Set in Spain, the movie throws together three brilliant young university students: painter Salvador Dali (Pattinson), poet/dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran) and filmmaker Luis Bunuel (Matthew McNulty). Garcia Lorca and Dali form a powerful bond that is sexual, but Dali can't handle it.
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We know how women respond to Rob Pattinson as Edward Cullen in Twilight . I knew the second I saw the first teaser trailer that he was a new heartthrob. He's dishy. In IFC's on-demand release, the British micro-indie How to Be, he plays a depressed loser version of himself. Not a big reach. On the other hand, Pattinson stretches quite a bit as Salvador Dali in Little Ashes, a European art film with a cultural pedigree. Set in Spain, the movie throws together three brilliant young university students: painter Salvador Dali (Pattinson), poet/dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran) and filmmaker Luis Bunuel (Matthew McNulty). Garcia Lorca and Dali form a powerful bond that is sexual, but Dali can't handle it.

Most of us remember Dali as a flamboyant performance artist with a crazy waxed mustache. He also created some of the great works of Surrealist art. (I was not the only kid to grow up in New York City in love with the Museum of Modern Art's The Persistence of Memory.) Pattinson is fascinating in the role--you can't take your eyes off him. The movie will play great for the gay audience and for ardent Pattinson fans who can take the homosexual content. But the jury is out on Pattinson's acting. It doesn't help that filmmaker Paul Morrison uses a Euro-pudding approach, so that Brit Pattinson sounds less authentic than Spanish co-star Beltran. Why not have all Spanish actors with subtitles?


This article is related to: Indies, Reviews, Independents, Headliners, Rob Pattinson


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.