The Lifetime Movie That Stars Kristen Stewart

In 2022, Lifetime ranked among the top 20 highest-rated cable networks. According to Adweek, it took the 16th spot in a list of over 100 cable channels. Of course, the fact Lifetime is one of the most-watched cable networks won't come as a surprise to fans of the channel. It offers a dramatic escape from mundane life, the frequently sensationalized stories making Lifetime must-watch TV. 

Sometimes, when tuning in to Lifetime, viewers can even play spot the celebrity before they became famous. Lifetime movies often help launch the careers of future stars. According to Redbook magazine, A-listers such as Ben Affleck, Reese Witherspoon, and Jason Momoa all appeared in at least one Lifetime movie. TV movies are constantly being churned out, so it makes sense that many young actors join them for an opportunity to finally gain a much-needed screen credit.

Lifetime movies can also offer a platform to showcase an actor's talents before the transition to a bigger stage. "Twilight" star Kristen Stewart is just one of the stars who appeared on Lifetime before fronting one of the most popular franchises of all time and going on to become one of the biggest names in Hollywood. 

The Twilight breakout appeared in Speak back in 2005

In 2005, Lifetime and Showtime announced plans to air "Speak" together. The former President of Entertainment at Showtime, Robert Greenblatt, cited his decision to partner with Lifetime as a desire to allow as many women as possible to see a movie about a heavy, but important topic. "Speak" aired on Showtime and Lifetime simultaneously on September 5, 2005 (via Next TV). The film stars Kristen Stewart, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Perkins, Eric Lively, Steve Zahn, and Robert John Burke.

"Speak" is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Laurie Halse Anderson. According to Halse Anderson's blog, the film spent many years in development hell before it finally reached the big screen. Annie Young, who co-wrote the screenplay, was reportedly pivotal in getting it made. "Speak" follows Melinda, a high school freshman who becomes an outcast even before the semester begins when an incident at a party leaves her friendless and in a state of depression.

The book is beloved and received many high honors, including notably earning a spot on Time's list of "The 100 Best YA Books of All Time." There was understandably a lot of anticipation surrounding the film's release, as a result. According to Rotten Tomatoes, it received mostly positive reviews, and Stewart's performance, in particular, was deemed "award-worthy." 

The movie had its big bow at the Sundance Film Festival

"Speak" is most often associated with Lifetime, despite it equally being a Showtime movie as well. However, even before premiering on either channel, the movie hit the festival circuit. The world premiere of "Speak" was at the Sundance film festival in January 2004. The following October, "Speak" played at the Woodstock Film Festival. It even won a Maverick Audience Award for Feature Narrative (via Woodstock Film Festival). 

According to IMDB, the movie was also screened at several other festivals between 2004 and 2005, including the Sarasota International Film Festival, the Three Rivers Film Festival, and the Maryland Film Festival. Despite premiering on both Lifetime and Showtime, "Speak" is currently only available to stream on the Showtime app. It doesn't appear on the Lifetime Movie Club app, at the time of writing. 

Thankfully, for those without access to Showtime, "Speak" is available on DVD, if you want to check out one of Kristen Stewart's earliest and most impressive performances. The actor herself was also picked on, similar to Melinda, telling Elle Canada she'd love to run into some of her high school bullies nowadays. "Not that I would do anything. Just to grow up and see them again, outside of all this, would be an interesting thing," she shared.