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RELEASED: 2003, Cert. 18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 100 mins
DIRECTOR: Catherine Hardwicke
PRODUCERS: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte & Michael London
SCREENPLAY: Catherine Hardwicke & Nikki Reed
MUSIC: Mark Mothersbaugh & Brian Zarate
Evan Rachel Wood as Tracy Freeland
Holly Hunter as Melanie Freeland
Brady Corbet as Mason Freeland
Nikki Reed as Evie Zamoira
Jeremy Sisto as Brady
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Tracey Freeland is a 13-year-old girl who lives with her brother and single-parent hairdresser mother, Melanie.
At school and feeling sad about her lack of popularity, she dumps her loyal but straight-laced friend and pals up with Evie, a wayward girl from an apparently dysfunctional home. Under Evie's influence, Tracey very quickly shakes off her nice girl image, becoming embroiled in a rebellious world of shoplifting, stealing money, insulting her mother, drug use, piercings, tattoos and self-harming.
Try as she might yet in her own way, Melanie does everything within her power to control her wayward daughter, yet with little or no success.
Thirteen is a film that I've read a lot of good reviews on whilst cruising various cinema-related websites, so I thought I'd see it for myself.
Almost immediately, Thirteen irritated me intensely. Although I could see that Tracey possessed just a tiny bit more sensitivity than the thuggish school in-crowd she quickly gets drawn into, I didn't like her character at all.....nor did I like Melanie, her rather ineffectual mother.
Another thing which annoyed me was the music. Maybe I'm getting old, but it just grated on my nerves, consisting of rap/hip-hop and other teen-orientated material from the early part of the 21st century. Of course I realise that a film about a modern-day teenager has to contain a musical score which is current and has relevance, but listening to it simply did my head in big time.
The acting throughout the film and by all the characters is on the ok-ish side of mediocre, but I don't feel that the cast members should have been lining up to receive their Oscars. For me, the individual characters didn't seem to connect too well, there being something big missing from that spark of humanity which tightly or otherwise links us together as people. As far as the characters are concerned, my favourite was probably Brady, Melanie's coke-head boyfriend - he seemed to be the only individual in the whole film whose feet were at least partially on terra firma.
Especially during the early part of Thirteen, quite a lot of the dialogue is indistinct, and what I could make out, came across as rather shallow. I also found some of the camera work a bit too jerky, and aligning this with the film having an intensely 'bitty' arrangement which jumps rapidly from one scene to another yet saying very little, I was finding this very difficult to get into and concentrate upon.
As I watched Tracey's decline from being a nice girl into the teenage bitch from somewhere that makes hell seem like paradise, I was trying to read between the lines to see if the story contained anything original, but it doesn't. It is just an updated, re-moulded version of the same old story....teen hops onto the bandwagon of rebellion, fights with mother, then gets hung up on sex & drugs & rock'n'roll !! The only difference between Thirteen and similar films from the past, is that the music and fashions are of the 21st century rather than being say from the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s.
I am tempted to say that there are some borderline harrowing scenes in Thirteen, and one or two of them do depict Tracey's fall from grace in quite a graphic way, but I was left cold, as I've seen similar in other, older films, where these things have been portrayed in a far more hard-hitting and convincing way (one which immediately springs to mind is the 1981 German film, Christiane F).
The only real advantages I can see in Thirteen, are perhaps from a different perspective than what the director may have intended. My own focus settled onto the style of parenting Tracey was receiving, rather than anything wayward that she strayed into. It was moderately interesting to see how Tracey's mother Melanie tried desperately to cope with her daughter wandering off the rails of life, and it did raise a few questions as to why the mother/daughter relationship had eroded to a point whereby Tracey was feeling very inadequate, and pals up with the highly unpleasant Evie. Of course the single parent issue raises its head, in that Melanie tries to seek help from her ex-husband who does put in an appearance during which he attempts to make a breakthrough with Tracey, but he is also preoccupied to the point where his attention isn't as fully on his daughter as it perhaps ought to be. This for me, together with other dysfunctional elements in Tracey's home life, highlighted the problems which can spiral out of control when two adults split up, yet don't efficiently handle the way that their parting will affect their children.....nor will Melanie reflect upon any well-intended, structured criticism on her parenting skills as that is an area over which she is stubbornly proud.
However, and with regard to what I have said in my last paragraph, Thirteen still offers nothing conceptually new, and it puts its point across in rather a ham-fisted fashion, being rushed, bitty, lacking depth and the average acting coupled with a fair bit of the dialogue being indistinct, doesn't help move things along in the right direction for me.
Thirteen is very much a film of its era as far as the lifestyle of the characters is concerned, the music, the fashions, the type of recreational drugs used etc. and irked me to the point where it lost me almost before it had begun. Not all of my dislike of this film is simply due to me perhaps having the kind of jaded eye which comes with getting old....it has just as much to do with the way it is constructed, its lack of originality, poor camera work, bitty/uncoordinated presentation and mumbled dialogue.
Would I recommend Thirteen? It may appeal to younger people and possibly say something valid to a modern-day youth generation, but for me, it blinked and big-time missed the crux of a very important yet old as the hills human issue....that of unhappy teenagers wandering or being dragged off the rails of life.....well, perhaps it didn't miss it exactly, but rather saw it and handled it ineffectively. Therefore, I'd say no to recommending this film to an older audience, but will give a hesitating "yes" to anyone who is currently below the age of about 30-ish.
At the time of writing, Thirteen can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.33 to £55.68
Used: from 33p to £9.00
Collectible: fro £4.49 to £10.78
Some DVDs on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
I had never even heard about this film until I went into a discount DVD and music shop in the Metro Centre, Newcastle and spotted this on offer at 3 DVD's for £10. As well as the fact I have never heard anything about this film, with the low price I wasn't expecting too much, nothing more than a flop... However at the time I was really into buying new DVD's and watching as many films as I could and at less than £4 was hardly breaking the bank.
The front cover of the DVD looks quite bland and straight to the point - giving you an idea of what lies in the DVD underneath... you have the image of two young girls showing off tongue piercings and the title of the film "thirteen" tells you that they are very young and without reading the back you start to understand the film is possibly what girls do and act like at that age - which I personally can relate to... I, myself did things I wasn't supposed to and good examples of this would be getting my belly button pierced at the same age without my parents permission and even going as far as getting my first tattoo at the age of 15.
The film stars two young actresses named Nikki Reed (who plays Evie - the bad girl who leads the good girl down the path of self destruction) & Evan Rachel Wood (who plays the good girl lead astray). Back when the film was made I wouldn't describe either as high profile actresses as I hadn't seen any other films with either girl featuring. However these days both girl have made a name for themselves in the world of acting where I have noticed Nikki appearing in the Twilight films as Rosalie and Evan appeared in a couple of episodes of True Blood as Queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq - the queen of vampires.
When you compare the likes of their current roles to now both girls look remarkably different - the reason for this is the fact that Reed was just 15 when she starred (and co-wrote this film) and Wood was just 16. As previously mentioned this film was co-written by Reed and is said to be based loosely around her own life at a similar age... and I think its great for the roles to be played by girls of a similar age of the charecters which they portray rather than actresses who are visably older than they should be.
The film initially opens up to show the two girls doing things they shouldn't be doing and less than 4 minutes later rolls back to some four months earlier which goes through the motions to explain how the girls meet.
Tracy is a thirteen year old school girl, generally a daughter to her recovering alchoholic mother and a good sister to her older brother - she has her share of issues due to her parents divorce and her mothers boyfriend who she doesn't think very much off - but generally she is a good girl, with good friends and does well at school despite her problems.
What Tracy really wants out of life is to be just like the queen bee at school - Evie - all the boys want her and all the girls strive to be like her. She envies Evie to the max as opposed to her plain self. By a chance encounter, the girls become friends and Tracy slowly gets sucked into Evie's way of life - which is all the scary stuff that you dread your 13 year old daughter getting up to...
Considering this film doesn't have lots of special effects and doesn't have any major stars in it, its really hard hitting gripping stuff in the issues it covers. The thing you have to remember is there is young girls who get up to every single thing within this film and it is scary due to their age! Every young girl does go through a stage similar - maybe not as drastic as within this film - but we all want to find a sense of belonging / fitting in just like Wood portrays in this film - to me the fact it is so realistic is due to the believable issues in which it covers - because I have been there. To me watching what happens to Tracy as the film goes on, is very heart wrenching seeing her go from a nice girl to a volcano waiting to errupt.
Wood & Reed in my opinion both portray their charecters in this film brilliantly which is rare due to the ages they were when they had to act out these difficult issues - Holly Hunter also stars in this film as Tracy's mum - she is a previous acadamy award winner but in my view the two young girls really out-done her in this film.
I have tried not to say too much in the plot as I think this is a film everyone would need to see at least once and I would highly recommend to everyone.
Be aware due to the issues shown within this film the certificate has been given at 18 - not suitable in the slightest for young children - and even if you are over the age of 18 be sure that you don't have a problem with hearing strong language or drug use in a film.
At the time of writing this review you can purchase the DVD with free delivery in the UK at just £4.67 - DVD extras include directors commentary, the making of Thirteen and deleted scenes/trailor.
Film Only Review:
Tracy Freeland (Evan Rachel Wood) is a typical 13 year old girl. She starts off as a good student who loves her mum Mel (Holly Hunter) who is divorced and a recovering alcoholic and lives with her and her brother Mason ((Brady Corbet). She has friends at school though becomes a little starstruck by one particular girl and her mates Evie Zamora (Nikki Reed) who although she is 13 has the looks the body and everyone bowing down to her and is a bit of a celeb really lol. Tracy wants to be cool and popular and liked as much as her idol and weedles her way in with her after stalking her to the shops where Evie is with her friend shoplifting and to become one of the gang Tracy steals a purse and shares the profits with the other girls, instantly becoming a bit cooler.
We see Tracy and Evie's friendship blossom with Evie obviously and completely off the rails and before long nice Tracy becomes a girl dabbling in drinks, drugs and having underage sex just to be accepted. We see Tracy struggling with being a 'cutter' and her relationships completely going downhill apart from the confused one with Evie. Her grades slip and Evie is even living in the Freeland household instead of at her cousins which is causing even more problems for Tracy at home.
I don't want to go too much into the plot and ending of the movie so not to spoil anyones viewing. However I really wasn't very keen on this film at all. The music was good throughout and rather modern however the camera work was very amateur like, probably to give the film a more edgy and real feel but the wonky camera angles really did get on my nerves.
The story though was good about a girl wanting to fit in and grow up and experience things and of course peer pressure that kids do tend to go through nowadays. Holly Hunter who incidentally isn't one of my favourite actresses gave a solid performance of a loving mum struggling with her own demons, having a relationship and finding money tight with mobile hairdressing and a daughter going out of control. The girl that played the main character Tracy was excellent and convincing as a nice girl gone bad and Evie...well she was Evie and she really was that character as wild free and scared of nothing or nobody at all.
I liked the way their friendship was portrayed and the ending, well was expected in my opinion. However this wasn't a dreadful film it was just very teen aimed. Being an 18 movie I did expect it to be more graphic though the self harm scenes did make me feel rather uncomfortable I have to admit.
Not a movie I would watch again and for me this is one to rent when you've seen everything else on offer!
I had forgotten all about Thirteen. Flicking through the dashboard on my blog less than 5 minutes ago before I started writing this I came across an image of two girls. They were dressed in tight jeans, low cut tops and had their pieced tounges sticking out. They looked to be having fun and seemed to look like your average 'mature' teenagers - maybe sixteen, perhaps seventeen. The picture looked strangely familiar and so I sat there looking at the screen for a few seconds and then it clicked - the two girls in the picture were characters from a film that i'd seen many years ago. In fact i'd seen it quite a few times as after the first time I saw it I soon became a big fan of it and bought it on DVD. The last time I sat down and watched it was around a year ago now and it had completely slipped my mind. Seeing that picture reminded me of how good a film it is and inspired me to write this review.
Thirteen is a film directed by Catherine Hardwicke. The film was released in 2003 and I first came across it at a friends sleepover - we watched it and we studied the characters, wishing we could be as cool as them. Looking back now I can see that this is not a film that purposely encourages the behavouir that we see in the film, however I can see why it caused such controversy. The films main character is a thirteen year old girl, Tracy, who is played by Evan Rachel Wood. Tracy is a shy and seemingly sensetive girl in the first part of the film. Although she appears young for her age in comparison to her school peers, she is just a normal teenage girl. She's not popular and there's nothing about her that sticks out. She lives with her mum, a hairdresser, played by Holly Hunter and her older brother who is portrayed as being popular in school. Tracy starts to notice a group of girls in school who she begins to look up to (due to the attention they get from boys and because of how well liked they are) and after a comment about the way she dresses from Evie, the most popular member of the group, Tracy snaps. She breaks off contact with her best friend because she feels she's making her look uncool and has a tantrum at home, trashing her room and throwing away her teddies and ripping up her posters. She then persuades her warey mum to take her to buy some new clothes, which in the end she agrees to doing.
Tracy starts dressing differently to mimic the style of Evie and her friends, aswell as wearing heavy makeup. At school, Evie approaches Tracy, telling her she thinks her top's cute and gives Tracy her phone number. Tracy mantaines the whole 'too cool for school' attitude throughout the conversation and when Evie leaves she's noticeably excited - I think we all know the feeling of liking someone and then eventually catching their attention. A little later in the film, Tracy realizes that Evie has given her a fake phone number as a nasty joke. Tracy though, now determined to become popular, gets the bus into town to where the popular group of girls are shopping and after seeing them shoplifting, steals a woman's purse and brags about it, gaining instant popularity.
Before long, Tracy and Evie are best friends. The big group of followers Evie once had has been cut down and now Tracy's her favourite. The feeling seems genuine and both actors do a good job in expressing realistic emotion when it comes to the whole deloping friendship storyline. As well as being best friends with Evie, Tracy is now smoking, drinking, taking drugs, stealing and having sex in order to mantain her new found popularity. We see some of the above behavouirs in gory detail which at times made me feel uncomfortable, particullary the scene in which they are trying to have sex with Tracy's neighbor as well as the lesbian scene as I felt this wasn't really too necessary and they could of toned it own a bit. Another scene that made me cringe was when she gets her tounge pierced and also the park scene where we see her high on drugs. As well as this, we also see her troubled home life, and watch as her once perfect relationship with her mum disintergrates as she lies, steals and acts eratically. The perfomances during the mother and daughter scenes are outstanding with anger, pain and heartbreak all obvious and these scenes really make you feel sorry for her mum as well as her.
There is one particular scene in which Tracy is in self destruction mode and is seen cutting up her arm with a razor blade. I could see it building up to this as she is seen to go into the bathroom obviously upset and raid the bathroom cabinet but I honestly didn't think it would actually show the blade going into her arm, the blood, etc and I did find it extremely triggering - I found myself tempted to self harm again despite being in recovery from all of that kind of stuff but luckily I am in an okay place right now and so I was able to resist the urge - if you struggle with self harming or anything of that nature it'll be a good idea to either avoid the film alltogether all simply skip certain scenes as the rest of the story isn't as triggering or as quite as disturbing. The story in no way indicates any sign of recovery nor does it promote it and so if you're after a film with a happy ending or a feel-good underlying message then again, this is not the film for you.
Another subject in this film is anorexia and a developing eating disorder however this isn't really mentioned too much and instead there are subtle hints, such as when her mum is asking her when she last ate etc. We also delve into Evie's personal life, which isn't as perfect as Tracy once thought. This is a realistic film which I am sure will hit home with alot of people who had troubled teenage years - I could relate with the family and self harming issues although it didn't particullary feel any better if that makes sense. I thought the perfomances were outstanding and the actors really were flawless, at times it was like watching a documentary and Evan Rachel Wood is probably the best actor in the film in my opinion - she was seventeen when this was filmed and portrays the character well despite the age gap. She does a brilliant job in transforming the character's personality gradually and realistically.
The soundtrack isn't really very memorable but each song suits the mood, if that makes sense and adds that extra bit of tension and/or emotion. There isn't any CGI in this film as far as I am aware of. I bought my DVD a few years ago from Tesco and paid around £10. It is currently £3.50 on Amazon which is a total bargain! DVD extras on my copy include a voice-over version of the film in which the producer discusses the scenes etc and there is a range of different languages to watch the film in.
The film overall is quite gritty and very dramatic. The script is a little overdone at times and some of the scenes I do feel could of being toned down as it was quite awkward and generally uncomfortable to watch a thirteen year old girl self harming etc. Despite this though it is a very beliveable story which reflects a huge part of society - I think all teenage girls wish to be popular and this shows the nightmareish consequences, which although are graphic, unfortunetly I don't think it will stop teenagers from behaving in such ways as this film was the reason why I got my tounge pierced at such a young age - I suppose it is a parents responsibility to keep their children from watching this though as it has an 18 certificate but this film certianly isn't a huge influence in why my teenage years were like they were and although I became pretty obsessed with it (as did my friends), the novelty soon wore off and I can now look back and see the real meaning of it - it's an amazing film and I really reccomend it.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Catherine Hardwicke might be most recently known for her film Twilight, but her film Thirteen shows that she's a serious filmmaker too, and in this highly controversial, she grabs at something difficult to find, and that's two great teen performers who very much embody the material that they are performing. Thirteen is not for the faint of heart, but it is an impressively gritty outing.
The film's protagonist is the thirteen year old Tracy Louise Freeland (Evan Rachel Wood), a clever student whose mother Melanie (Holly Hunter) is recovering from a drug addiction who has to try and make ends meet to support Tracy and her son Mason (Brady Corbet). At school, Tracy meets Evie Zamora (Nikki Reed), a popular girl who would normally stick her nose up at Tracy, but after Tracy helps them shoplift out of a desperate attempt to be accepted, they become the best of friends, with Evie essentially moving into Tracy's home. Evie becomes an increasingly bad influence on Tracy, causing some considerable family strain with her mother, as their antics get more and more lurid and depraved, resulting in a cataclysmic climax that will test their friendship and familial bonds.
Although grim, Thirteen is an amazingly involving, and no doubt highly controversial piece of cinema that chronicles the lives of two thirteen year old girls, as they dabble in various vices and troubles, this is visceral, muscular filmmaking. To call the film disturbing would be on the button, yet it delivers so in a way that is appropriate and not merely for shock value. This film gets a very important message across very adeptly.
Thirteen was a film which could either be brilliant, or very distasteful and unrealistic. The content of the film is frightening for any parent, I'm sure, and really brings home how much pressure children are under from different people to do different things. I think it successfully conveyed how out of control things can get for teenagers today through a series of unexpected events.
Thirteen looks to show how quickly teenagers grow up now, as the story follows two thirteen year olds, Tracy and Evie, not facing the usual trials and tribulations associated with been thirteen, but instead getting involved in a world of drugs, drinking, smoking and sex.
The development which Tracy makes from an innocent little 13 year old, to something very different and almost frightening is hard to watch. Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) starts off the film as an average American 13 year old, which has just started middle school. Tracy and her mum, Mel (Holly Hunter) get on well and their relationship is lovely at the beginning of the film, although we learn that her mother is a recovering alcoholic, and her father appears to be nowhere in sight. Suddenly, her life changes when she notices Evie (Nikki Reed) and wants to be her best friend and to be amongst the 'popular' crowd at school. A few shenanigans later, and they are just that. It's quite clear that Evie is not the kind of best friend you would want though, as she leads Tracy into a dangerous world of sex, drugs and alcohol. Tracy's life has a sharp turn around, and we watch the teen becoming a mother's worst nightmare, showing total disregard for anything and anybody, and becoming an utter nightmare.
The content of this film seems to be there to shock you. It is very uncomfortable and hard-hitting watching a portrayal of 13-year olds doing so much damage to themselves. The opening of the film sets the tone for the rest of the piece, as we see Tracy and Evie clearly high on something, hitting each other across the face because they 'can't feel anything.' This is a disturbing start to the film, which then goes back to the beginning of their story, to show how the friendship between the two girls developed, and how they have gotten to this stage. As we see Tracy's transition from an intelligent, innocent girl into a pierced, drugged rebellious teenager, it is shocking.
When watching, I definitely thought this film was over-the-top, portraying teenagers in an unnecessary bad light. However, after watching this I looked up a few things about the film, and discovered that the film was in fact co-written by Catherine Hardwicke and Nikki Reed herself - based on her own experiences as a teenager. Leading me to think that maybe there is more truth in this film than I first thought, as scary as that may be, and making me appreciate the film a lot more for what it is.
The story this follows is definitely interesting. Some of the moments in the film are cringe worthy - but not because of the way they are written, or performed - only because you sit there wishing you could change the way these characters are behaving, and make them see how much damage they are doing to themselves.
Despite this film being incredibly hard to watch, it's a firm favourite of mine. At times it comes across as over dramatic and unnecessarily angsty in places, but the characters and their development are very interesting to watch. It is shot in a way which appears more documentary style than film. At times you feel like an observer to a very real situation. Instead of watching a film which you know isn't real, it almost feels like you're intruding in someone's real life as you watch the events unfold and the emotional difficulties faced by all those involved.
This film is littered with difficult scenes to watch, ranging from trying to seduce a man in his early 20s, to watching a girl self harm. For me, the very ending is the most emotionally hard-hitting. It's hard enough to see 13 year olds turn to drugs, sex, self harm, alcohol and everything else they do, without seeing the outcome of everything that has happened and the emotional breakdowns involved.
I'm not entirely sure what the intended message of this film was. All I can really tell is that popularity isn't always what it looks like. At the beginning of the film Tracy sees Evie as happy, always getting what she wants and someone to aspire to be, however she soon learns that popularity doesn't always make you happy, and sometimes looks are not always what they seem.
Overall, this film is definitely one to watch. Despite being hard to watch at times, and for some, difficult to relate to, it's interesting to see what can happen if you fall in with the wrong crowd. This film is an 18, and although I see why with all of the hard content, maybe it should be slightly lower, considering it is about 13 year olds. It's shocking, emotional and disturbing, but for some reason you find yourself having to watch it to the end to find out what happens to these poor teenage girls.
Thirteen is a drama film released 21st August 2003. It runs for 99 minutes & is rated 18. The film gained really positive reviews, infact 89% of critics gave this film a good review. The two lead actresses were eventually nominated for Golden Globes for their performances in the film. The film was made on a budget of $2,000,000 & grossed an estimated $10.1 million.
Thirteen is directed by Catherine Hardwicke who's directed the massive new film Twilight. Upon the films release it became the biggest opening ever for a female director. She also worked on Vanilla Sky starring Tom Cruise. Catherine Hardwicke worked on the screenplay for Thirteen with a 14 year old girl at the time, her name is Nikki Reed and she's appeared in Catherine's latest film Twilight.
The two leads are played by Evan Rachel Wood who plays Tracy Freeland, Evan Rachel Wood was just 15 when she portrayed the part of Tracy & she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress thanks to her portrayal as a troubled young teenager. More recently she's appeared in The Wrestler as Mickey Rourke's daughter & in 2006 she starred in Running With Scissors. Nikki Reed plays Tracy's best friend Evie, she appeared in the 2007 film The Reaper.
Thirteen, no surprise is about two thirteen year old girls. Tracy has lived quite a sheltered life, she love her Mum, wears strange clothes & is basically just the opposite of 'cool'. Evie, on the other hand is the exact opposite to Tracy, she's the most popular girl in school, all the girls want to be her & the guys want to be with her. Evie is pretty much worshiped by everyone & Tracy is no exception. Tracy has noticed how popular Evie is and she wants to be just like her, one day she manages to get in with Evie and her mates and Evie realises that she can take advantage of Tracy so she ditches her other friends & just hangs out with Tracy.
Tracy, being only thirteen is very easily influenced, Evie realises this and uses it to her advantage. She gets Tracy into things that are a parents worst nightmare, sex, drugs, piercing & just general wayward behaviour. Tracy's Mum desperately tries to snap her out of it but to no avail. It looks like she needs to just let her young daughter get everything out of her system & hope for the best.
For anyone who isn't a parent or over the age of 50 I would suggest you stay well away from this film as it will undoubtedly shock you with what these girls get up to. Unsurprisingly this film received a lot of critism for showing two thirteen year olds taking part in sex and drug taking but I think this film depicts teenagers well, obviously not all teenagers go down that route but a lot do and yes this is probably an exaggerated version of real events but you can imagine what these girls are going through & why they want to experiment.
I first saw this when I was about 15 & I didn't really get it at the time but when I watched it a couple of years later I really appreciated what the story was truly about & I was so shocked at how good it was because although I didn't go through the exact same thing as a teenager quite a few of the things depicted in this film were really relatable for me & I was so compelled by it that I ended up buying it on DVD to watch again.
I thought the acting was brilliant, it's rare to see a film with two women leads let alone two girls of such a young age but they really carry it off brilliantly. The two roles that they play require a lot of depth & skill and it's rare but excellent to see it two such young actresses. Tracy's Mum was played by Holly Hunter, she also played her role brilliantly, you can really feel her angst and desperation for her Daughter.
The plot line is brilliantly, it's great how such a simple, realistic storyline can be so compelling. This really is a dark, gritty & shocking film but it's also a must-see.
I'd recommend this to anyone (maybe except parents with thirteen year old Daughters!) under the age of 30 as it's more aimed at young people and the things that teenagers have to struggle with these days. It's a brilliant film & shouldn't be overlooked.
The special features on the DVD include:
Audio commentary from director Catherine Hardwicke
'The Making Of' featurette
Easter Egg (hidden feature)
Thirteen is currently available from play.com for £5 which is really cheap considering this is such a brilliant film. I would highly recommend you buy it as it's a great price & a brilliantly enthralling watch.
The soundtrack is also available from play.com but for the higher price of £11.99. Not something I would really recommend to be honest but I'm sure some people may want to buy it.
No wonder that this movie achieved lots of awards from many festivals. I should admit that the story was a little bit disturbing yet very eye opening.
The story took the set in the teenage girls' society where the popularity and look sexy is something that they was looking for. From the good girl to the girl next door, this is a good movie to be watched for learning.
Jump in to the world of drugs, party and free sex in the teenage world, it is something that a little bit shocking to me because it was something which was really different from my culture and my country. But this is also something that could make me see that something like that was so much possible.
Thirteen is s movie that I would recommend to all mother and daughter, and teachers in high schools. It would show you the phenomena in the real world, which was hidden, and undercovered in the teenage purity.
When I watched this film with a friend, I loved it instantly. And have watched it over and over again. The story that Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) tries to befriend the coolest girl in school Evie (Nikki Reid). This sounds like a corny teenage movie, but unlike them the movie shows the devastating lengths that Tracy goes through to try and fit in.
The movie shows what peer pressure can drive people to do and the sadness and desperation a lot of girls feel in their teenage years.
So far, this sounds like a very depressing film and in no way is this a happy-go-lucky flick but you start to empthatise and bond with the girls. And by the end of movie you feel like you know them.
I highly recommend this movie. However, a lot of parents will watch it and start to panic what they have to remember is not everyone is like this. And of course its a movie, things will be over-dramatised but despite that, it's an AMAZING movie! Watch it!
This is one of my favorite films. It deals with the coming of age of one girl and the problems that she deals with. The main character Tracey and her friends are supposedly thirteen (though they clearly look a lot older). At the beginning Tracey is a shy and studious girl, who when returning to a new school year becomes allured by the popularity of Evie, a girl who has grown up a lot.
This insecurity leads to Tracey changing the way she dresses and stealing in order to get the attention of Evie. This leads to a downward spiral of drug taking and self harm, with Tracey trying to deal with her troubled home life. With Tracey failing at school and her mother finding out will Tracey be able to get out of her drug taking life and away from the bad influences of Evie?
For me I found the way the film deals with the issues of self harm particularly engaging. Tracey begins self harming in order to deal with the emotional hurt she felt at the regection of her father and her feeling somewhat unloved by him (as he has a new family and does not give enough time to Tracey or her brother). Also the memories of her finding her mother's boyfriend collapsed from drug use and his return causes her a lot of pain. I think the film shows a realistic portrayal of self harm and how it can become an addictive self-destructive way of dealing with pain.
Also another obvious theme is that of drug use. Like self harm Tracey uses any drug she can get hold of and alcohol in order to deal with her emotions. The situation is perpetuated by the closeness that Tracey and Evie develop, cutting off all their previous friends to spend all their time together taking drugs, stealing and getting involved with boys. When Tracey does realize that Evie is a bad influence on her and decides to make her move out and back in with her auntie, Tracey struggles with the fact that her reckless behavior has caused her too lose friends and leave her alone. Evie turns against her and confesses all about their drug use and stealing to Tracey's bewilded mother.
Personally, for me the ending is my favorite moment. Despite everything Tracey's mother, although initially annoyed is more concerned and refuses to let Tracey push her away any longer, the film ends with Tracey collapsing in her mother's arms and her mother holding her. It is the ultimate moment that shows motherly love and makes the audience feel that their will be hope for Tracey as will have her mother's unconditional love and support to get her through everything.
I rented this because i saw a review of it on ciao, and it turned out to be quite good. The issues tackled are realistic, and its not hard to believe that the person who made the film had based it on her own life. However there are many dissapointing parts. For example the main character is introduced to the lifestyle because she impresses a popular girl, and all of a sudden she just becomes 'bad'. And then this same girl breaks up with her, and despite the drug taking, and the way that she has been pulled in, she just stops being 'bad'? Overall though, its a good portrayal of teenage life.
I have recently joined one of those online DVD rental sites, and 'Thirteen' was one of the films I added, as my younger sister loves it and her and her friend often say things like how they live their lives like it. I can't say that I think is really the way to go, but what can you do.
'Thirteen' follows the story of Tracy, played by Evan Rachel Wood, and the relationship she has with her mother, played by Holly Hunter, as she is led astray by her new friend Evie, played by Nikki Reed. We are introduced to Tracy at the start of the film as a bright young girl, who comes from a loving but troubled family. We learn early on that her mother is a recovering alcoholic, and that there is a significant absence of a father figure from her life. Tracy, however, seems remarkably well adjusted, showing intelligence as she recites a poem she has written to her mother, and compassion as she looks after her mother's friend's young daughter while her mother and friend attend an AA meeting. However, as is often the case with films that centre around girls of this age, Tracy longs to be part of the 'cool' group of her school.
This is where Evie comes in. Tracy sees Evie stealing clothes, so to try and prove her worth she steals a purse from a stranger's bag. This initiation is enough to cement Evie and Tracy's friendship, and it is after this that the two girls delve further into the world of sex, drugs and petty crime. We witness Tracy and Evie fall further into a dangerous world, experimenting with drugs and alcohol along the way. The opening scene of the film shows the two girls after they have become firm friends, obviously completely spaced out, asking each other to hit them as they cannot feel it. This is pretty disturbing, and sets the tone for the rest of the film.
Watching the two young girls behave in this way makes for uncomfortable viewing, but what makes the film even more disturbing is the fact that the script was written by Nikki Reed (the character who plays Evie), based on her own experiences. So, however unrealistic you may find the film, for Reed, this did actually happen.
This film was the breakout role for Reed. Catherine Hardwicke who was dating Reed's father directed the film; she suggested that Reed wrote the script in order for her to work through some of the things she has gone through. For a first role Reed does remarkably well; the fact that she was so comfortable with her character obviously helped. Similarly, Evan Rachel Wood does well in the character of Tracy, and Holly Hunter superbly portrays the mother who has to watch her relationship with her daughter completely disintegrate. However, whilst the two girls do do a good job of playing these extreme characters, there are moments in the film that are cringingly over the top, temper tantrums that just don't sit well with viewers.
The look of the film does much to add to the overall negativity of the film. The girls are often shown in a grey light, and the camerawork has moments that look like it was filmed on a hand-held camera. You can tell that the aim of this is to give the film a gritter, more hard-hitting edge. An easy trick admittedly, but it gets the job done. The purpose of this is to make the audience view the film as more of a documentary-style look at the girls and youth culture, rather than a fictitious piece of cinema. Keeping in mind that Reed wrote the script herself based on things she went through herself, it is not hard to see why Hardwicke decided to move in this direction. Since the film Reed has commented that although she realised that the film would strike a chord with similar girls, she didn't realise that these girls would be the ones sitting next to her at school.
Overall, this is a harder spin on the traditional high-school film based on the peer pressures that girls suffer from. Instead of the normal bullying, makeovers and bitchiness that usually fills films in this genre, 'Thirteen' is filled with sex, drugs and alcohol. It would be easy to dismiss 'Thirteen' as an over-the-top, overly dramatic exaggeration of an already tired genre. However, it is impossible to ignore the extremities presented here and pretend that this kind of behaviour doesn't go on. Definitely not a great piece of cinema, or a film that will be included on many best-of lists; but still worth a look as a film that pushes the boundaries of the high-school based genre much further than 'Mean Girls' ever could.
Thirteen is definitely the best teen movie I have seen, with its brilliant story it gives an honest account of how bad peer pressure can effect somebody. I also like the fact that Nikki Reed co-wrote this movie using her personal experiences.
This is a fast paced movie starring Evan Rachel Wood as Tracy, Nikki Reed as Evie and Holly Hunter as Tracys mum.
At the beginning of the film we see Tracy and Evie on a bed hitting each other as a game obviously on some kind of drugs, then the film goes back to four months earlier when it all began.
Tracy was a young thirteen year old who loves her mum, does all her homework, wants to get the best grades she can and wears plain kind of geeky clothes. Then she notices Evie the most popular girl in school who has her tongue pierced wears revealing clothes and has all the lads hanging around her. Tracy wants Evie to notice her so she has a makeover, buying a whole new wardrobe of cool clothes. Evie takes notice and they start hanging out together and become inseparable, after a stolen purse and huge shopping spree. Now Evie practically lives at Tracys house. Tracy convinces herself she hates her family and all the girls want to do is get drunk, high and have sex. This leaves Tracys mum worried and she has no idea how she can save her daughter. A few too many drugs later Tracy sees herself in the mirror and she how pale and sick she looks and seems to realise she needs to get off the drugs.
I wont tell you the ending as I dont wont to spoil the film for anyone who hasnt seen it, all I will say is the ending may not be what you expected.
Truly a film to terrify every parent, Thirteen is about, as you might imagine, a pair of thirteen year old girls, best friends. But unlike most movies about thirteen year olds, these arent cute, well-behaved cheerleading wannabes, they're drinking, drug-taking, smoking, swearing, manipulative little monsters.
Out anti-heroine is Tracy, a cutesy thirteen year old whose just entered middle school. She loves her mum (Holly Hunter), babyish clothing and getting her homework in on time. Until she notices Evie. Everything she isn't, Evie is cool, sexy and a real uber-bitch. Tracy becomes obsessed with the idea of being Evie's best friend. One costume change, a couple of piercings and a stolen purse later, Tracy and Evie become best mates- but if you are expecting a "She's All That" style teen makeover movie, think again. Evie effectively moves in to Tracy's house and watches (and aids) Tracy as her relationship with her mother and brother falls apart. The gruesome twosome snort coke, attempt to have threesomes with much older lifeguards and sleep with each others boyfriends. Tracy's life slowly starts turning into utter hell as she finds herself taking too many drugs, getting kept back in school, cutting herself and having the worlds worst relationship with a parent, ever.
I was a bit wary about watching Thirteen...I hate teen movies, and from the beginning the movie is a bit MTV-ish. Cool tunes, cooler clothes and two sexy, skinny little girls running wearing not-too-much didnt really sound my sort of movie. However, although a tad embarassing in part, Thirteen packs quite a punch. It isn't all about the girls having fun, its about betrayal between a pair of friends, manipulation, back stabbing and a total break down from the main character Tracy, and her mum.
One of the interesting points of the film is that from the beginning, its clear Tracy wants to escape. Her relationship with her mother is good but they are broke and her mums cokehead ex boyfriend shows up...naturally Tracy hates him. However, she finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the hell she is trying to escape when she becomes friends with Evie, her fairweather friend.
The film portrays the ecstasy and misery of the teenage life very accurately. Despite the girls doing things women twice their age would think twice about, we are made never to forget about the age of our precocious girlies. We see them explode with excitement when Tracy's crush calls her up, and we see Tracy's misery as she cuts into her arm with a razor blade and tries to convince herself that she hates her mother. The film was co-written by one of the stars, Nikki Reed, who was only fifteen at the time (apparently based on her own experiences), and it really shows in the way the film is done. Most films about teens see them from an adult viewpoint and get them totally wrong, this is spot on.
No easy options or answers are given in the film. Although it does give an insight to the girls' problems- abuse, neglect, sexualisation of young girls and wholly imperfect role models, it doesnt seek to give an explanation, or a happy ending for that matter. The characters in the film are three dimensional, something which is truly lacking in a lot of todays cinema. The mother figures are imperfect antitheses to the cookie-baking, bun-wearing, cuddly-bosomed "moms" so popular in cinema, and the teens are portrayed just as they are...you are shocked at their bitchiness and manipulation but yet you can't hate them because they are just so...human. All of the performances are impressive, Evan Rachel Wood as Tracy is explosive to Nikki Reeds sultry, manipulative but utterly loveable Evie. The standout performances are Holly Hunter as Tracys despairing mother, and Jeremy Sisto as her recovering drug-addict boyfriend.
Another great thing about this movie is it portrays being "cool" as what it actually often is...being out of control, ruthless and very, very nasty. Its unbelievable to watch Tracy copy Evie's every move as she searches for that elusive quality...cool.
One of the most affecting scenes in the movie is when Tracy and Evie escape from her mums clutches and go on the rampage in the city...while Tracy is buying soda, Evie disappears into a changing room with Tracys paramour. During the search for her, Tracy drinks from a bottle what I assume was GHB, which turns her into equal parts raving lunatic and total space cadet. The ending scenes are also very gritty, however i wont give away the entire plot!
A strong, graphic and realistic warning about what teenage girls have to deal with in this day and age, it dispells all notions of innocence and purity, and shows the consequences of growing up to fast along with the self-hatred that seems a prescription for teenage life. Despite being a little over-produced (this production clearly had a lot of money behind it), or perhaps BECAUSE of it, the movie has several heavy messages, and a strong sense of being grounded in reality. Mothers, you may well never let your kid out of the house again after seeing this!
A gut-wrenching portrait of adolescence, Thirteen is made all the more powerful because it was cowritten by a teenage girl, Nikki Reed, who also costars in the movie. Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), a serious good student, finds herself needing to express her anger and resentment at her fractured family life. To rebel, she pursues a friendship with the reckless, alluring Evie (Reed), who seems to have all the cocksure freedom that Tracy desires. What follows is both harrowing and compelling: Tracy becomes enmeshed in a relationship with Evie that empowers Tracy and drags her deeper into the misery she wants to escape--and terrifies her mother (Holly Hunter), who struggles desperately to hold on to her daughter's love. Thirteen makes every step on this path utterly convincing, due to the vivid script, energised direction and astonishingly alive performances from Hunter, Reed and especially Wood. It's jolting, sad and mesmerising. --Bret Fetzer