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Kimberley French/Summit Entertainment/AP

Eclipse

Movies

Issue: "Tilting at turbines," July 17, 2010

Wondering where all the teen girls are this weekend? Look no further. The third installment of the Twilight Saga, Eclipse, hit theaters on June 30.

The film picks up the story of pretty Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her love triangle between the ageless vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and a perpetually shirtless werewolf named Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Bella and Edward are talking marriage, but Jacob knows, deep in his wolfish heart, that Bella has feelings for him. If angsty, teen love weren't complicated enough, some renegade vampires are tearing up nearby Seattle and may be headed north to hunt Bella. This installment is the best in the series so far, with backstories of the Cullen clan and a few decent battles that should wake up boyfriends and husbands roped into watching the movie.

Much has been written about the societal and moral implications of the Twilight series. In Eclipse (rated PG-13), Edward makes a strong case for waiting until marriage to consummate their love. It's more than a "don't" message; it's an argument for why true love is truly lifelong and marriage the most romantic expression of it.

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On the other hand, Bella's love for Edward seems only to diminish her personhood. She is willing to sacrifice school, friends, family connections, college dreams, even life itself for Edward. The Twilight version of love raises the question of the ultimate purpose of marriage and romance. Is it merely to adore each other, spending days in wildflower fields whispering sweet nothings? Or is it forming a bond that glorifies God and makes a difference in the world? Is love inward focused or does it provide strength for one's outward calling? It can get pretty dull sitting in a room staring into each other's eyes for eternity.

If inward focused love is the highest love, Bella's desire to retire from life, become a vampire, and spend forever gazing at Edward's twinkly skin makes sense. However, if there's more to life than that, she's missing out.

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