American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Kristen Stewart has been in feature films since 2003, but last year, still only 18, she became a big star as a vampire's girlfriend in "Twilight." Now comes her remarkable performance in "The Cake Eaters," made two years ago, to show her as a very different kind of lover in a very different kind of film.
It's the directorial debut of Mary Stuart Masterson, herself a fine actress ("Fried Green Tomatoes"). Stewart plays Georgia, a high school student with a degenerative muscular disease. It causes her to walk unsteadily, stand crookedly and, as Beagle tells her, talk like she's had a few beers. Beagle (Aaron Stanford) is the kid she meets at a flea market. She asks him to come over to her house that evening. Beagle says, uh ... ah ... yeah, sure. He has no problems with her condition; it's just that he's terrified of girls.
Beagle is going through a rough time emotionally. His mom has recently died after a long ordeal with cancer. His dad, Easy (Bruce Dern), is a good guy and in his corner. His brother, Guy (Jayce Bartok, who wrote the screenplay), sat out the entire illness in New York, seeking success as a rock or folk star, and has returned just too late for the funeral. Beagle is enraged at him. Beagle cared for his mom the whole three years.
Georgia, as played by Stewart, is not looking for sympathy. She's looking for sex and is very forthright about that. When a hairdresser asks her if she isn't rushing things, she says simply, "I don't have a lot of time." Why did she choose Beagle? He's OK looking, he's not bothered by her disability, you can see he's gentle and perhaps she suspects she can get him to do what she wants.