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Every Kristen Stewart Movie, Ranked

In August, I set out to watch every Kristen Stewart movie ever made, and I am here today to share the results of that highly uneven experience.

Kristen Stewart’s film career began with a haphazard assortment of films wherein children did schemes and had adventures. Regardless of each film’s quality, she was snagging lead roles from the jump — Panic Room was her second movie. She played tomboys or awkward outcasts and then, eventually, graduated to what would become her most enduring legacy: playing Bella Swan in the Twilight franchise. During and after that financially beneficial but artistically damning contract, Stewart seemed hellbent on proving herself serious by seeking out independent films that were sometimes bad but always Not Twilight.

Thematically, she has often found herself functioning as a transformational figure for the psyche of a white boy or man at a crossroads, delivering harsh truths with messy hair and her hands in the back pockets of her jeans. Often, this man is played by Jesse Eisenberg. She’s the opposite of a manic pixie dream girl, but ultimately her effect on the men in her radius is the same. She is quirky and a little rough around the edges. She pushes people to see themselves clearly while rarely taking time to do the same for herself. Her characters often find themselves involved with older men or caught in love triangles. In more recent years, homoeroticism and outright homosexuality have become a more constant presence in her work, and as she’s grown up, the world has finally begun to take seriously the girl we knew was an incredible actress all along. She has starred in a string of biopics including this year’s big one, Spencer, which marks the first time Stewart has generated Oscar buzz.

Stewart recently told The Sunday Times: “I’ve probably made five really good films, out of 45 or 50 films? Ones that I go, ‘Wow, that person made a top-to-bottom beautiful piece of work!” Having now viewed every single film she has ever been in, I can attest that this is in fact true. I wouldn’t give a 10/10 to any of the films on this list, but at least ten would easily get a 1/10. It was incredibly difficult to decide which film was worse than another film and exactly how much worse. But it was still a great journey to take.

There are 42 films on this list. Stewart has cited 45 – 50. The discrepancy is as follows: I did not include documentaries (Bad Reputation, Shooting Panic Room, Aware Anywhere, Love Antosha), shorts (Come Swim, Once and Forever, Cutlass, Crickets) or movies in which she did not have any lines (The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, The Thirteenth Year) or actually appear (the horrific K-11, in which she did a ten-second voiceover).

Which leaves us with 42! Let us begin then, shall we?


42. The Messengers (2007)
Directed by: Danny Pang & Oxide Pang Chun
Written by: Todd Farmer & Mark Wheaton

Kristen Stewart in The Messengers, seeing a ghost

A big-city family moves to a little farm in North Dakota and the children are haunted by ghosts and plagued by jump scares. There are a lot of crows. Ghosts flock to Kristen Stewart like bees to honey but in a world where her parents are honey truthers.

41. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One (2011)
Directed by: Bill Condon
Written By: Melissa Rosenberg and Stephanie Meyer

Bella Swan being pregnant and Robert holding her skinny hand in Twilight Breaking Dawn part one

This Kristen Stewart movie is a 2+ hour anti-abortion PSA with vampires! The sheer volume of young people exposed to this film make its emaciated body horror more terrifying on a political and cultural level than it is in the world of the film itself.

40. Cold Creek Manor (2003)
Directed By: Mike Figgis
Written By: Richard Jefferies

the family in Cold Creek manor

Kristen Stewart, aspiring horse lesbian! Once again our young heroine finds herself moving out of the city and into a creepy house in a small town that is figuratively haunted by its previous inhabitants. Sad day for Sharon Stone and Dennis Quaid when they said yes to this project.

39. Jumper (2008)
Directed by: Doug Liman
Written by: Simon Kinberg, Jim Uhls, David S. Goyer and Steven Gould

Kristen stewart being in 'Jumper' for 3 minutes

How did it take four entire men to write one bad movie? Kristen Stewart is in this for ten seconds, so it’s hardly a Kristen Stewart movie, but here we are. Despite this film being objectively terrible, it was one of my favorite watches of the K-Stew Ranking Experience, because it features my beloved Ann Arbor Public Library as a platform for advanced international travel.

38. Anesthesia (2015)
Written & Directed By: Tim Blake Nelson

Kristen Stewart experiences pain

Imagine a self-absorbed white teenage boy who wants to be a filmmaker is playing with paper dolls of his favorite actors, forcing them to tell “intersecting stories” that are not actually stories so much as containers for him to share a series of pretentious, earth-shattering “revelations” he had while stoned at the 10th grade lock-in, all of which are thoughts literally everybody else has already thought a million times. Then you have this movie!! Kristen Stewart is a graduate student who cuts herself because “the world has just become so inhuman” and also because capitalism and um, iPhone addiction? Her story is based on probably a Seventeen magazine article? Kristen Stewart yells about her disillusioned peers while I scream into a pillow. If I were ranking her performances, this would be dead last, but I don’t even think it’s her fault?

37. What Just Happened (2008)
Directed by: Barry Levinson
Written by: Art Linson

Kristen Stewart wearing a tie over a dress for no reason

A pointless satire of movie producers, envisioned for the screen by movie producers. Kristen Stewart is one of many actors (Robin Wright, Stanley Tucci, John Turturo, Lily Rabe, Catherine Keener, Bruce Willis) who wasted their time being in this movie. Fortunately for her but unfortunately for me, she was only in it for maybe ten minutes, as one of Robert DeNiro’s estranged children.

36. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two (2012)
Directed by: Bill Condon
Written By: Stephanie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg

Bella hugs her chid in the woods while Jake and Edward are like "cool"

Texts I sent while watching this film:

what the fuck is up with this baby
breaking dawn part one was horrifying i thought this couldn’t be worse
why is wolfboy having sex thoughts ABOUT A BABY
the extended cullen family always look like an SNL parody
maybe kristen started dating robert patticakes bc she hated her job and needed excitement
like why i dated marc at the olive garden
….
it really takes a village to raise a baby
how did two hot vamps make one ugly baby
who did the makeup on peter fancinelli and are they still in prison
mormons have too much power in this culture
….
[shared a picture of the CGI baby]
???!!!!?!

35. Cafe Society (2016)
Written & Directed by: Woody Allen

Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in "Cafe Society"

This film and Into the Wild occupy a similar sphere in this list wherein yes I am aware that according to “the critics,” this is a “good film” and most would prefer it to Zathura: A Space Adventure.

Unfortunately, I was unable to bear it because, much like Into the Wild (we’ll get there in a minute), we have a beautiful package and an extraordinary cast circling a deeply rotten core, and that core is A STRAIGHT CIS WHITE MAN WHO IS OBSESSED WITH HIMSELF. However, when that man is Woody Allen, the results are particularly unsettling.

Set in the golden era of Old Hollywood or whatever, Kristen Stewart plays Vonnie, a hottie assistant torn between cute new-in-town awkward curly-haired white boy Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) and studio mogul Phil (Steve Carell). (Also although Kristen Stewart (26) and Steve Carell (54) are both adults, I feel compelled to point out this age difference because this is a Woody Allen movie and this is his creepy agenda!)

My primary feeling about this film is “Woody Allen: what if you just did not?” What if you just did not contribute a completely unnecessary voiceover to this film just to hear yourself speak? What if you did not exorcise your bitterness that you are no longer Jesse Eisenberg’s age by directing Jesse Eisenberg to basically act like you do in your other films, which in his body just comes off as overly stylized, selfish, paternalistic, pushy and really basically just INSUFFERABLE? What if you just did not rely on the beauty and inherent charm and mythology of Old Hollywood to carry a film that otherwise is empty? What if you just stopped making movies????

34. Into the Wild (2007)
Written & Directed By: Sean Penn

Into the Wild still, K-Stew is holding a dog

Next up on our Kristen Stewart movie tour is Into the Wild. Before I proceed, I want to say I bear no ill will towards the real Christopher McCandless, his life was his own to live (it does seem like he was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness! But that’s never addressed, instead he is framed as a “free spirit.”), but I’m opposed to his post-death lionization, including this film, which has an actual body count.

A wealthy white man LITERALLY BURNS CASH MONEY and goes on a VERY poorly planned trip into the Alaskan wilderness to “live off the land” and I am expected to care for 2.5 straight hours! He abandons a life of opportunity and privilege without concern for his family or friends, who understandably panic and subsequently extend resources and anguish searching for him. He relies entirely on the kindness of strangers — who have far less to give than his own family — to survive after willfully destroying his own assets and even the ID that’d enable him to work for money. He romanticizes poverty, disenfranchisement and unemployment like only a privileged white man can! His primary life trauma is that at some point he found out that his Dad was married to another woman when his Mom got pregnant, and his Dad left his ex for his Mom. Yup, that’s HIS trauma, not the trauma of IDK, that other family?

Kristen Stewart plays Tracy, a quirky 16-year-old who finds herself so enchanted by this selfish man that she wants to bone him in her parents’ trailer while they’re not home!

However, there are three minutes of this film in which Kristen Stewart plays guitar and sings “Angel From Montgomery” with Chris, and it’s honestly transcendent. I could watch that three minutes out of context for the rest of my life.

33. Fierce People (2005)
Directed by: Griffin Dunne
Written by: Dirk Wittenborn

K-Stew at a fancy dinner event with her new boyfriend

An angsty awkward curly-haired white boy named Finn wants to spend the summer studying “tribal people” in South America with his father, but due to reasons must settle for staying in the castle owned by his Mom’s billionaire massage client, Ogden (Donald Sutherland). He quickly falls for Ogden’s granddaughter, horny horse lesbian Maya (Kristen Stewart). They rub each other in “tribal paint” and hook up. There is sexual violence. The problem with this film is that it is racist!

32. Undertow (2004)
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Written by: David Gordon Green & Joe Conway

K-Stew in Undertow

Men and boys in the woods of rural Georgia, family secrets, something something, Uncle Deel comes home, steals a coin collection, there is murder, the boys are on the run? I forgot to take notes to this movie. I was bored but it got good reviews so maybe I missed something? At some point we meet Lila (Kristen Stewart, 14), a tomboy who kisses Chris (Jamie Bell, 18) in an old rowboat that’s like, on land?

31. Catch That Kid (2004)
Directed by: Bart Freundlich
Written by: Michael Brandt and Derek Haas

Jennifer Beals and Kristen Stewart in 'Catch That Kid'

12-year-old tomboy Maddy (Kristen Stewart) wants to earn money for her Dad’s surgery by robbing a high-security bank. It’s like Ocean’s Twelve, Junior! I was rooting for these kids! Jennifer Beals is Maddy’s Mom? Hopefully this inspired at least one future lesbian to join a climbing gym.

30. Underwater (2020)
Directed by: William Eubank
Written By: Adam Cozad and Brian Duffield

Kristen Stewart is trapped underwater yikes

Kristen Stewart’s head is shaved and she’s trapped underwater in a drilling facility at the bottom of the ocean and then there is an earthquake and there are monsters? This film was unnecessary.

29. The Yellow Handkerchief (2008)
Directed by: Udayan Prasad
Written by: Pete Hamill and Erin Dignam

K-stew riding in a car with Eddie Redmayne in The Yellow Handkerchief

Based on a 1977 Japanese film that was much better than this, Stewart plays Martine, a 15-year-old troubled teen on the run with her awkward messy-haired white boy outcast pal Gordy (Eddie Redmayne). They pick up a just-released-from-prison Brett (William Hurt) and take a road trip through post-Katrina New Orleans to get Brett to his ex-girlfriend. It was fine.

28. The Cake-Eaters (2007)
Directed by: Mary Stuart Masterson
Written by: Jayce Bartok

the cake-eaters still of k-stew on a bed with a boy

Fifteen-year-old Georgia (played by Kristen Stewart, 16) has Friedrich’s ataxia and also wants to bone 20-year-old Beagle (played by Aaron Stanford, 30), a cafeteria worker at her high school. Those are her only personality traits, really: she has a chronic illness and wants to bone. Stewart gives the character all she’s got to give, and it’s very well directed. Georgia’s Mom takes naked pics of her to raise disability awareness? Bruce Dern is there. At one point, Georgia gets the worst, most alarming lesbian haircut in history and her and Beagle escape their small town to hook up in a motel.

27. Equals (2015)
Directed by: Drake Doremus
Written By: Nathan Parker & Drake Doremus

K-Stew in all white in "EQuals"

In a sanitized dystopia that never bothers to make a case for its existence, Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult — who really nails the robot bit — rebel against the system’s forbiddance of feeling feelings by falling in love with each other. It’s like someone had 10% of a good idea, bleached everything, made some minimalist furniture, said “speculative non-fiction” ten times fast and then sent the reel straight to the cinema!

26. In the Land of Women (2007)
Directed by: Jonathan Kasdan
Written by: Jonathan Kasdan

adam brody and k-stew in "in the land of women"

Carter Webb (Adam Brody), a mopey awkward curly-haired white boy, moves to Michigan to take care of his ailing grandmother and somehow develops weird sexual relationships with Sarah (Meg Ryan) and her daughter, Lucy (blonde Kristen Stewart)! It’s kinda charming in pieces and then Carter starts mansplaining something to Lucy and I die.

25. Welcome to the Rileys (2010)
Directed by: Jake Scott
Written by: Ken Hixon

still from Welcome to the Rileys

I think the movie itself was pretty good but “man saves sex worker from herself” storylines are like nails on a chalkboard for me, sorry

24. Lizzie (2018)
Directed by: Craig Macneill
Written by: Bryce Kass

K-Stew and Chloe Sevigny in Lizzie

A list of this nature composed by a heterosexual would likely place this Kristen Stewart movie further into the weeds of the bad movies but alas, I am not a heterosexual and therefore the abject badness of this film was indeed overcome by furtive lesbian barn sex.

23. J.T. LeRoy (2018)
Directed by: Justin Kelly
Written & Produced by: Savannah Knoop and Justin Kelly

K-Stew as Savannah and Laura Dern as laura Albert in "JT Leroy"

I’m fascinated by scammer stories and the truths revealed by the lies we’re desperate to believe, but this story starring Stewart as Savnnah Koop, a teenager manipulated by her older brother’s girlfriend Laura Albert (Laura Dern) into adopting the false literary persona of J.T. LeRoy — a character Laura invented to sell her gritty fiction about abuse, drugs and poverty as semi-autobiographical — somehow tackles none of those themes. It tells its story clearly, but the result is just a blockbuster cast performing a TV movie script.

22. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
Directed by: Chris Weitz
Written by: Stephanie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg

Twilight new Moon still

Jake’s big try! An inspirational Kristen Stewart movie about how threatening to kill yourself is the best way to get your boyfriend back. The world of the Volturi added some roundness to Twilight’s strange world, and I appreciated that Edward’s brief absence gifted us more time with Jake and the Quileutes. I love CGI wolves I guess.

21. On the Road (2012)
Directed by: Walter Salles
Written by: Jose Rivera

On the Road still

Sometimes a book is really amazing and I think, that’s okay, not every book needs to be a movie! Kristen Stewart is a convincing Mary Ann, the White Men of Literature’s prototypical manic-pixie-dream-girl. But as a superfan of the book and the Beats, I was mostly unmoved by this film that I had anticipated for well over a decade.

20. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
Directed by: David Slade
Written by Stephanie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg

Twilight Eclipse still

The only Kristen Stewart movie on this list I’ve had the pleasure of previously reviewing for this website, back in 2010 when Crystal made us all go. I think we were high? From that review: “Ok lots of fields of poppies and flying people… Eclipse was cool and entertaining, once you got over the whole ‘how the hell did this totally masochistic love affair become a worldwide phenomenon’ thing. Bella’s like Helen of Troy in a hoodie. High school! Girl you are in high school. Good luck picking the right college, let alone joining the undead.”

19. Charlie’s Angels (2019)
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Written by: Elizabeth Banks, David Auburn and Evan Spilotopoulos

charlies angels ermake

This film could’ve been a photoshoot. Unfortunately, once more my lesbian bias seeps through the cracks of this project. The “case” at the center of this otherwise aesthetically delightful romp of tight pants and fight sequences is so utterly empty, so boring, so irrelevant, that I felt actively insulted by the entire film. And yet! Kristen Stewart looked great and did a great job didn’t she??? She was so gay! I had a good time!!

18. Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Written By: David Koepp and John Kamps

Kristen Stewart is frozen

Kristen Stewart was literally frozen solid for half of this film but I think as a child I may have been entertained by little Josh Hutcherson’s journey into space! Good for him!

17. Seberg (2019)
Directed By: Benedict Andrews
Written by: Anna Waterhouse & Joe Shrapnel

Kristen Stewart in Seaberg

American actress Jean Seberg (Kristen Stewart), best known for Breathless, was eventually an FBI target for her involvement with the Black Panthers, and this film traces that chapter of her life. I really enjoyed the film and its style, but it’s difficult to get past the FBI agent being portrayed as a martyr!!! I mostly lamented that now Kristen Stewart won’t have the chance to be in a good movie about Jean Seberg.

16. Snow White & The Huntsman (2012)
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Written by: John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini and Evan Daugherty

Snow White and the Huntsman still

Stunning visuals, a reliably well-tread story with just the faintest whisper of new life barely breathed into it from a few towns over. Kristen Stewart looks great in armor, nice special effects, battle scenes I could endure because they were not too bloody, ultimately this had no point but the plot carried us on a horse from scene to scene and let us off at the end for snacks, so?

15. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016)
Directed by: Ang Lee
Written by: Jean-Christophe Castelli

Billy Lynn's halftime Walk still

For a movie trading in literally zero of my interests, I was drawn in quickly to this slice-of-life drama centered on young private Billy Lynn and his erroneously labeled “Bravo Squad,” fresh out of a harrowing Iraq battle, sent home for Thanksgiving to do a publicity tour touting their heroism. But the squad, heavy with PTSD and secrets and despair, are courted like symbols instead of people. Kristen Stewart is Billy’s older sister, Kathryn, who is essentially the audience’s surrogate — not the heartless publicity hounds or the entrenched soldiers, but someone who sees the war clearly and wants desperately for Billy to take a discharge and refuse his next tour.

14. Speak (2004)
Directed by: Jessica Sharzer
Written by: Annie Young Frisbie

Still from 'Speak"

Eric Lively of L Word defame plays a popular teen who rapes Kristen Stewart’s character, Melinda, at a party. Snubbed by her friends and ignored by her parents, she retreats into a stony silence and slow psychological deconstruction. Speak can’t really decide if it’s an indie drama or a made-for-TV movie, but if anyone doubted Stewart’s acting chops, they could’ve started here for evidence of her unique talent for embodying the anxiety of trauma.

13. American Ultra (2015)
Directed by: Nima Nourizadeh
Written by: Max Landis

still from "American Ultra"

Up next in the Jesse Eisenberg/Kristen Stewart trifecta is this charming little action movie about Mike, an awkward curly-haired white boy stoner with a way-too-good-for-him girlfriend. But Mike turns out to be a secret agent who’s been de-activated! But then he’s re-activated by Tami Taylor when the government decides it’s time to kill him! It’s sort of dumb but also really fun!! Tony Hale is always a good time.

12. Camp X-Ray (2014)
Directed & Written by: Peter Sattler

Still of Camp X-Ray, Cole in her army get-up

Kristen Stewart is Private Cole, a guard at Guantanamo Bay who connects with Ali, a detainee her comrades have routinely dismissed (Peyman Moaadi). I often felt like I was just watching a black-box play starring Stewart and Moaadi, who had incredible dramatic chemistry. It’s dizzying to consider Cole’s backstory — enlisting to get out of her small town, only to be flown directly to a small prison — and I wish there’d been more to chew on from Ali’s. Mostly it kept nagging at me; this sense we were supposed to see Cole’s eventual kindness towards Ali as angelic rather than what it really was — human.

11. Twilight (2008)
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Written by: Stephanie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg

Still from Twilight

This film has everything: a plot, characters, special effects, vampires, high schools, apples, baseball, a Mormon agenda, a place on a list of Kristen Stewart movies. What’s not to love?!

10. Personal Shopper (2016)
Written & Directed by: Olivier Assayas

Kristen Stewart in "Personal Shopper"

Stewart considers this and her other film with Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria) to be on a very small list of work she’s proud of, and it is indeed critically acclaimed and beloved by smart film people. Alas I am not a smart film person. I know this movie is better than the other movies on this list, I was just um, a wee bit bored??!

9. Adventureland (2009)
Written & Directed by: Greg Mottola

Adventureland still

James is forced to spend his summer after graduating high school — class of 87! — working at a local carnival that serves as the small bond for a number of big fish to execute small pockets of power in this cold world. Adventureland is a fun watch teeming with comedic talent  and once again we find Kristen Stewart, she of effervescent complicated summer sexuality, falling incomprehensibly for a misunderstood weirdo.

8. Still Alice (2014)
Directed By: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Written by: Lisa Genova and Wash Westmoreland

"Still Alice"

Julianne Moore is Alice, a linguistics professor with three grown children, including an aspiring actress and passionate diarist played marvelously by Kristen Stewart. After losing track of her words while teaching, Alice is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers and her family must learn to navigate this new reality.

7. The Runaways (2010)
Written & Directed by: Floria Sigismondi

The Runaways

Kristen Stewart as badass, gritty, determined, iconic punk rocker Joan Jett was a blessing in a year short on female-focused stories. The Runaways has the energy of its music and of its era, shifting from eroticized full-volume aggression to grainy, SoCal, sun-bleached, drug-addled dreams. Afterwards you wanna straddle a girl with smoky eye makeup and start a band. Never before or since has Stewart played a role with such intense lesbian top energy and the film crackles with nonstop sexual tension. Knowing now what wasn’t quite as known back then, however, it’s difficult not to lament its relatively gentle treatment of Kim Fowley, a serial rapist and child predator who passed off abuse as artistic genius.

6. Happiest Season (2020)
Directed by: Clea Duvall
Written by: Mary Holland & Clea Duvall

Harper and Riley in "Happiest Season"

So much went wrong here — an implausible and sociopathic premise passed off like a wink/smile, the tap water level chemistry between the romantic leads — but it packed in so much delight, too! Some very winning jokes, a cast you’d love to play Scattegories with, Christmas cheer and Jane’s novels and Harper’s suit at the party and Aubrey Plaza’s sulky-smart ex-girlfriend and the Mom with her iPad. I loved it!

5. Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)
Written & Directed by: Olivier Assaysas

Clouds of Sils Maria still

A bounty of talent and European accents descend upon the Swiss Alps and so does Kristen Stewart wearing glasses and tugging on her shirtsleeves. Like Personal Shopper, my occasional boredom during this objectively excellent film made me doubt the power of my own artistic intellect. I liked it much better on a rewatch, because when I viewed it in the cinema I was suffering from crushing guilt over having chosen it for Date Night without realizing it was 2+ hours long and that there was no actual lesbianism in the film, only a play about lesbianism that everybody is rehearsing all the time.

Anyhow. Stewart is Valentine, the assistant to Juliette Binoche’s Maria, who’s unveiled resentment of The Youths and Their Superhero Movies comes squealing out of her eyeballs when she’s asked to join the cast of the play that made her famous, but in a new role. Scandal-ridden actress Jo-Ann (Chloë Grace Moretz) will play Maria’s original role, Sigrid, a beautiful younger woman who dupes and ditches Helena, an older lesbian who Maria will be playing in the revival.

There’s a lot of intense and delightful verbal sparring between Valentine and Maria, who spend nearly all their time together. Also the clouds and mountains are beautiful.

4. Panic Room (2002)
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: David Koepp

Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart in "Panic Room"

A highly competent thriller that brings two lesbian icons together, trapped inside a tiny room, bombarded by men looking for wealth under a capitalist heteropatriarchy. I was on the edge of my seat for this must-watch Kristen Stewart movie!

3. The Safety of Objects (2001)
Written & Directed by: Rose Troche

K-Stew's first role as Sam in The Safety of Objects

This was my first ever Kristen Stewart movie. The first time I saw her do anything at all, she was playing Sam, an 11-year-old girl who passed as a boy in The Safety of Objects. The film, directed and written by lesbian icon Rose Troche, was based on bisexual author A.M. Homes’s short story collection by the same name. I was drawn to Sam, relating intensely to what I ultimately perceived as an ambivalence towards how others perceived her gender but also a deep aversion to wearing a dress. I didn’t realize Sam was “the girl from Twilight” until much later. But I love all the weird people in this film, all the outsider stories lurking behind a neat suburban veneer.

2. Certain Women (2016)
Directed by: Kelly Reichardt
Written by: Kelly Reichardt and Maile Meloy

Stewart in Certain Women

This film is so quiet and empty and full, and about Montana as much as it is about any of the people who live there. Stewart plays a law student who forms an (in my opinion homosexual) bond with a rancher in the town where she’s teaching “School Law” and she doesn’t say much, but she accomplishes so much here with her small patches of time. Everybody is so lonely even around other people, all these women giving more to life than it’ll ever give back.

1. Spencer (2021)
Directed by: Pablo Larrain
Written by: Steven Knight

Spencer

Undoubtedly her best performance and her first to inspire Oscar buzz, Stewart’s Diana is gorgeously nervous, manic, unsettled, haunted. The script isn’t perfect — managing to dull down a wildly intriguing truth and lack narrative momentum — but it is so lovely and tragic to witness! The fashions and her face and the castles and her children racing to keep up with their beloved mother and the scarecrow and the lesbian in the meadow! I loved it. However I’m confident that the best Kristen Stewart movie has yet to be made!


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Riese

Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2945 articles for us.

88 Comments

  1. “Into the Wilds” is certainly stupid (it made me angry, too!), but it has had the best soundtrack in a long time, Eddie Vedder was on replay back then. Otherwise, I also agree about “Charlie’s Angel”, but it was nice to look at. Still would’ve put it higher. Similarly about “Snow White”, I was entertained but it’s no Oscar. Then I’m surprised that somehow Twilight made it into the top 11? Would’ve put it lower.

    I also do feel the same about “Personal Shopper” and “Clouds of Sils Maria”. I feel like I’m not getting it? They made me feel stupid and also bored.

    My personal favorite was “The Runaways”.

  2. I can’t believe arrogant snark like this is still publishable. A complete waste of everyone’s time. You should thank the internet that you can make a living off capitalizing adult angst. You’re almost 40, in case you forgot.

  3. Thank you, Riese. Having also watched most of these films in my own rambling, non-professional Kristen Stewart watch party (hats off to you for making it all the way through all 27 Twilight sequels and some of the other bombs on this list), this was a delight to read.

    I was honestly shocked to see “Twilight” at #11, and “Happiest Season” at #6 (I realize this ranking is happening in a certain context, but I am perhaps one of the few queers who deeply did not like it – except for Aubrey Plaza and Dan Levy; seeing Mackenzie Davis in “Station Eleven” has been the ultimate palate cleanser) – every time I’ve watched that movie I’ve been more put off. By the relationship dynamics (I feel like they shouldn’t get a pass just because they’re gay?). By the abrupt tonal shifts. By the storylines that felt like they were happening in the early aughts not 2019. etc.

    But otherwise I am on board for your top 10. (Not that you asked or need to care!)

    I will stand by my love of “Clouds of Sils Maria,” and while I really like “Personal Shopper” I agree the pace is … slow.

    You crystallized my feelings about “Lizzie”: “the abject badness of this film was indeed overcome by furtive lesbian barn sex” (seriously, the film was so stilted and cringy and yet…)

    I feel “Anaesthesia” is still a better film than some of the others listed higher up, but at an emotional level I recoiled from it the way I do from a certain breed of self-involved white male college students, who are really into recuperating Nietzsche and corner you at parties to talk about lucid dreaming and in high school thought Conor Oberst was the shit.

    I also found it highly unlikely that a graduate student (I do think she’s supposed to be a grad not undergrad) would open up to their advisor, of all people, about her curling-iron-self-harm existential depression. I say as someone who has been a graduate student and observed all the weird power dynamics and secrecy especially with faculty who seem to hold all the power for your future/career etc.

    I was surprised you didn’t comment beyond sharing the summary on some of the films, like “Still Alice.” I have my own objections to the overriding beliefs this film purports (that she is “still Alice” at her core despite profound dementia) but the affectionate yet fraught chemistry between Stewart’s and Moore’s characters felt like the most authentic heart of the story (Baldwin makes me cringe and the other children feel a bit like caricatures). The closing moments of the film made me angry (as someone who cared for a college-professor parent whose career focused on language and story through the decline of early-onset dementia… so yeah, of course my response is impacted by my own personal circumstances) –– and yet Stewart’s delivery of the “Angels in America” monologue gave me goosebumps and made me sob. So I think she wins?

    Thanks for the 5 (?) months you dedicated to creating this, Riese. You’ve inspired me to go re-watch a few of these titles, double down on my desire to never watch some (Breaking Dawn, I’m looking at you), and open a beer and revisit “The Runaways” (for how dark the film is, especially with the abuse that came to light more fully after, it has such verve and thrill too!).

    • “”I also found it highly unlikely that a graduate student (I do think she’s supposed to be a grad not undergrad) would open up to their advisor, of all people, about her curling-iron-self-harm existential depression. I say as someone who has been a graduate student and observed all the weird power dynamics and secrecy especially with faculty who seem to hold all the power for your future/career etc.”

      Oof just an all-too-relatable academia observation amidst the (already insightful) KStew analysis!

    • well, i personally enjoyed reading your words about Still Alice, so thank you for sharing them and also I’m sorry, that sounds really hard… also my g-d that is a specific circumstance to have in common with that film?! it must have been so intense to watch.

      for me i just was like, wow this is a powerful film and it’s very good but it’s also very painful and sad, and i wasn’t sure how to talk about it, and so you’re right, i gave up on talking about it at all. (my grandpa had dementia before he died but i only saw him a handful of times like that since it was during a period of time when i couldn’t afford to go home often.) i felt similarly about The Father where bc I didn’t have that personal connection, i just felt like wow this is sad!!! but now that i am typing this i feel like i could’ve done better with that, could’ve tried harder, written more, i’m not sure why it felt so specific in its scope and intended audience to me.

      happiest season – it’s funny bc drew didn’t like it and i did like it so whenever i put it on a list of mine people are like WHY DO YOU LOVE THIS and whenever she leaves it off a list of hers people are like WHY DO YOU HATE THIS.

      STATION ELEVEN IS SO GOOD THOUGH
      it’s like one of the best shows i have ever seen??

      • Yes, Station Eleven is SO GOOD (better than the book, IMO, much as I really like Emily St John Mandel’s writing and enjoyed her most recent novel too.)

        I didn’t watch The Father due to above-mentioned personal context. Wept through Still Alice in theaters by myself largely because of Stewart and Moore being in it. Also the subtext of “she’s still herself even though all this is stripped away” is the preoccupation of the book on which the film is based, so I have no particularly beef with the film in that regard, just a different perspective on these situations (one that I know plenty of other people share, it’s just I and other family members who watched my dad’s decline in his 50s for a decade don’t share).

        Anyway: I’m sorry about your grandfather, too, Riese. Even if it’s more at a distance, it’s still deeply painful. I know (from our extensive Gen Q recap comment sections!) that we also share to some degree the experience of loving people struggling with addiction. And I do think dementia and addiction are particularly challenging for the person impacted but also their loved ones, in a way that is distinct from (but of course not worse than) more straightforwardly physical illnesses/conditions.

  4. I actually loved Clouds of Sils Maria! Although my wife fell asleep during it so I understand mileages may vary.
    I cannot really give an intelligent rationale for liking it other than KStew and La Binoche both being attractive women that talk a lot with each other and there didn’t seem to be many men? And then suddenly KStew is not on the mountain any more?!
    Amazing!

  5. I don’t want to be lumped in with the random men commenting here, but my brutally honest reaction to seeing the EIC of Autostraddle post this type of content: ‘This is why this site struggles to survive.’ This isn’t content I want to read, for one.

    • So, aside from whether or not you personally enjoy this type of content (which, you are welcome to personally read or not read anything you like, of course!) I just had to step in and say that fun, pop-culture content does in fact help this publication survive. It’s true that it is difficult in general for indie queer media to survive. We’ve seen too many of our community’s spaces close or come close to closing because, for a variety of reasons we’ve written about in depth before, it’s not easy.

      Right now, I can see that a huge portion of the people reading this post are new visitors to the site, which means we have the chance to welcome new readers and ultimately grow our community. (If you’re new here, hello and welcome!!) Everyone has a different point of entry to Autostraddle, and maybe for someone, that’s Kristen Stewart movies, and that’s great! On top of that, growing our readership goes hand in hand with our sustainability goals. While 99.9% of our readers don’t financially support Autostraddle, the less than 1% who do, including our A+ members, keep this site going and working for everyone who wants this space to be here. If we grow our readership, then we can grow our A+ membership numbers because there will be new readers who are able to and who want to support the website for everyone (an awesome thing to do!). It’s also true that this site can and will mean different things to a person, but that’s part of why we publish a variety of different types of content.

      Depending on who you are and how you’re doing today you might want want to settle in for a personal essay, or maybe you want to read an actual lesbian recapping a show with queer characters (instead of a straight person’s review, which will not contain nearly as much love for the gayness of a work) and chime in in the comment section with your theories, or maybe you want to get the latest on queer books, or, yes, you might want to enjoy a ranking of Kristen Stewart movies written with voice, and humor, and care and a gay perspective. We have a variety of content because each of us — AS team members and readers alike — contains multitudes, and content like this, is, in fact, part of our plans for sustainability and survival.

    • Imagine thinking that in-depth analyses of queer media (you know, the thing that this entire most-popular-lesbian-website-on-Earth was originally founded on) are the cause of this site’s struggles, as opposed to literally every aspect of modern cishetero patriarchal white supremacist capitalist society

  6. I was shocked that Underwater is so far down on this list, I loved that movie, I felt like I was watching KStew as Ripley from Alien and also she doesn’t wear a shirt for like, most of the movie??? what’s not to love?

    Otherwise, great list well done keep up the good work

    • honestly it did not click with me, and I saw it in the theater when it came out (with like…five other people lol). The shaved head drew me in, ngl, and on that front, and her outfits, it delivered (that does count for a lot), but other than that….I love sci fi movies but this one just didn’t reel me in.

  7. Thank you Riese! I haven’t watched most of these but I’m happy to see American Ultra pretty high on the list. I watched it because I thought KStew looked hot in the trailer and it was so ridiculous and silly and enjoyable.

  8. riese! thank you for your service!

    also: i am here to represent the people who loved the charlie’s angels reboot and felt that the queer subtext was full text!

    was it a ridiculous movie? yes. and was it everything i wanted in a charlie’s angels movie? also yes.

  9. “A list of this nature composed by a heterosexual would likely place this Kristen Stewart movie further into the weeds of the bad movies but alas, I am not a heterosexual and therefore the abject badness of this film was indeed overcome by furtive lesbian barn sex.”

    I felt this on so many levels.

  10. I’m just going to keep commenting because why not. I did not like Personal Shopper at all, especially the excessively (imo) long texting scene when she’s on the train??? I was like….why was this method of communication chosen….for a movie. Can we get a probably-not-believable phone call or what. Is this because K.Stew can’t act??? (j/k, don’t kill me) I saw it with my wife because she’s a K.Stew diehard. My favorite parts of that film are the shots of K.Stew riding a Vespa around Paris. Maybe I actually don’t like K.Stew at all but have seen a lot of her films to go along with my dyke wife. The things we do for love.

  11. reading this list made me want to rewatch the first 3 Twilight movies!! probably not the intended effect but what can you do?!

    it also made me want to read the official Autostraddle review of Eclipse! unfortunately the link doesn’t quite work right, but fortunately the cat pictures at the bottom of the broken link page are extremely cute

  12. Firstly, just had to say this is EXACTLY the content for which I come to Autostraddle. Thank you for your service, Riese, and I agree – you deserve hazard pay for doing this. Bless you.

    I especially appreciate the reviews of movies I was interested only because of KStew, (Charlie’s Angels, Lizzie) so that I no longer need to consider watching them. I will go find a YouTube clip of that sex scene from Lizzie!

    I also want to add myself to the list of those that really enjoyed The Clouds of Sils Maria. But I readily admit that it’s just one of those movies you need to be in the right mood to appreciate. It definitely got slow at times, but as a theatre student god I just loved all the scenes of them running lines!

  13. Sometimes, I’m just minding my own business, when the scene with KStew in Lizzie where she’s doing the weird breathing / freaking out thing just POPS into my mind and I think that’s probably something that’s just stuck there forever.

      • Is this what happens when AS runs a piece that ends up directing a straight/male/not-the-usual-AS-reader audience to this page? Because wow, Riese, you should receive hazard pay not only for watching all (!!) these movies and reflecting on them for our benefit, but also for fielding this comment section.

  14. Wow there really were a lot of Twilight movies, I think I erased this time from my memory.

    Also commenting to say I read+support Autostraddle for the pop culture snark so thanks Riese for coming through as always!!

    • Don’t forget that The Cake Eaters was directed by none other than Idgie Threadgoode!

      Also if KStew doesn’t win best actress for Spencer I will riot. And a general thank you to Riese for this spectacular journalistic effort!

  15. Love this list! I can forgive an action movie or romcom for many many sins as long as it is fun (and even MORE SO if it is queer coded), and you know what? Charlie’s Angels was fun!! And Kristen Stewart slapped her own ass with a riding crop at one moment so that has to count for something.

    I’m among the minority here who loved Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria, but I like theater and have a dead brother that I miss a lot so I feel like they happened to be slower movies that were riveting for me personally. I love ghost stories so personal shopper as a non-traditional haunting really worked for me.
    Clouds of Sils Maria I loved for being about unacknowledged desire, and also for the scene where KStew makes Juliette Binoche laugh and spit her beer.

    After reading this list, I really need to watch Certain Women! My whole family saw Meek’s Crossing by the same director when it came out in theaters and it became our punchline for YEARS because we were so bored, so I’d assumed it might be similarly slow. But the ranking here makes me think I’d really like it!

    • Certain Women is just flippin’ fantastic (and agonizing!). I hope you get to watch it! JustWatch informs me it’s on AMC+ and also available to rent on Apple TV.

      I also liked Personal Shopper and Clouds, and am also a theatre-lover, so I think we have found out why Some of Us like certain (yes, OK, a little … slow) movies. Note: The woman who stars opposite K-Stew in Certain Women was one of the main characters in a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival the year after Certain Women came out. (Theatre Nerd Info: The play was a retelling of Measure for Measure, set in a Native boarding school, called Off the Rails [more about the play here: https://www.osfashland.org/~/media/Support%20OSF/Membership/2016-fall-prologue%5D, and the actor’s name is Lily Gladstone.)

      Also, as a longtime A+ member, I CERTAINLY do read the cultural content on Autostraddle, and it’s one of my favorite things about the site. 😍 (But K-Stew or not, I will not watch the Twilight movies. The books were rough enough.)

  16. TYSM for this piece AS and Riese, I loved it. I appreciate this type of content and thank you for suffering through some god awful movies to get to this.

    Turns out, I’ve seen more of KStew’s filmography than I would have thought.

    Personally I loved Personal Shopper & Cloud of Sils Maria. But I appreciate they are more slow moving, quieter movies, which is not everyone’s cup of tea.

    I totally disagree with Certain Women, that has to be one of the most boring movies I’ve ever seen. I saw it at a film festival with a bunch of friends and we all breathed a sigh of relief when it was over. But each to their own!

    People love to bring up the Twilight movies as evidence of KStew’s poor acting, when she played Bella perfectly. If you’ve read the books, you know Bella is about as interesting as a soggy biscuit. Given the source material, she played Bella exactly right. And I say this as someone who watches the Twilight movies once a year; I love them, in spite of how bad they are.

  17. As someone who became a regular AS reader because of Riese’s Glee recaps, this is exactly the type of content I love from this site. Thank you for taking one for the team and watching all of these terrible movies!

  18. I actually did that during summer 2020! Interesting feedback, didn’t agree with everything at first but the top 10 seems pretty much right! Loved Clouds of Sils Maria. Thanks for the fun ride down that road.

  19. I definitely think underwater deserves to be higher on the list. Krosten is obviosuly bisexual with that haircut and outfit and blows up cthulu.

    Also, the order (imo) of the twilight franchise in goodnesa: new moon, breaking dawn pt 2, twilight, eclipse, breaking dawn pt 1. Breaking dawn pt 2 is actually entertaining instead of just a mormon agenda, and even tho jacob is objectively as bad as edward new moon showcases us the could have been, and features bella swan on a motorbike. And cgi werewolves so.

  20. I remember my cousin and I watching Catch That Kid on REPEAT one summer when i was 10 and she was like 14 (i knew I was gay, and was fairly convinced my cousin was gay). And look at us now: me, my cousin AND kristen are like, so gay dude.

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