Mention the name 'Kristen Stewart' and you are sure to receive laughs, guffaws, and grunts galore. It is almost universally accepted that she is a 'bad' actress. Where does this consensus come from? The majority of the naysayers have based their decisions solely from the various Twilight movies and that is just a small sample of her work.
In actuality, she's been working as an actress for about fifteen years. Remember that awesome movie, Panic Room? That's right, she was in it. The Messengers? Cold Creek Manor? Oh yes, she was also in those two movies but nobody complained about her acting then. It wasn't until the teen vampire movies popped up did the general public start to point fingers.
Who did Mary Stuart Masterson choose as the female lead for her directorial debut? No one but Kristen Stewart. Why did Bill Condon agree to direct the last two Twilight movies (according to his movie commentary)? To be able to work with Kristen Stewart of course. Who did Kate Hudson cast in her short film directorial debut? Kristen Stewart. She also starred in the headlining movie of the 2010 SXSW film festival (The Runaways), was selected by Sean Penn for a role in the movie he wrote and directed which was nominated for two Oscars (Into The Wild), and she won a BAFTA award (British Oscar). Even with her impressive resume she still has been labeled negatively.
What's the most popular reason given for why people think she is a bad actress? Kristen Stewart's acting is 'unemotional'. Let's look at her character in Twilight; she's a teenager in love with a vampire. She's depressed, conflicted, torn, and cautious throughout a majority of the movies. It's not clear how a smiling and bubbly persona would accomplish the portrayal of those emotions. Let's also look at her second most popular role in Adventureland; she's depressed, conflicted, torn, and cautious for a majority of that movie as well. Those are very similar characters which would obviously require similar performance styles however she is labeled unemotional and her acting prowess is graded as such.
In her less-viewed films she has played an underage stripper, a teenage nomad, a rape victim, a girl with a nervous system disease, a rock star, and a dancer to name just a few. Undoubtedly these performances are quite different. Where are the critiques of these? They don't exist. Everyone points their finger at the Twilight franchise. Think of it as you may, but Twilight undoubtedly has a very specific target audience. Namely female romantics.
The second biggest argument is her interview skills or lack thereof. In reality interviews have nothing to do with movie performances. It's like judging someone's TPS reports based on how many fish they caught during their weekend fishing trip. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions regarding their likes and dislikes when it comes to movie performances but valid arguments really are necessary if you're going to start labeling actors as such. With the general consensus as it is, Kristen Stewart's acting just doesn't seem to deserve the reputation she holds.