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How did Holly Hunter not win that Oscar? Why weren't Evan Rachel Wood and
Nikki Reed at least nominated, let alone winners?
I have seen many films in my time, and none have held such great performances as this, and few have spoken to the audience in such a powerful way.
Holly Hunter, who is always superb, outdid herself in the role of Mel, the caring mother who doesn't know when to put a tighter grip on her daughter, Tracy. Her performance is so touching, and so painful that you want to get inside her and show her what she needs to do.
Evan Rachel Wood is outstanding as Tracy, the young girl who so desperately wants to fit in, and will go to any lengths to get that. Wood is always good, but she too has outdone herself, and perfectly nailed the role of Tracy. Not once does she come across as a pretentious actress trying to act like a teen.
Nikki Reed, who was introduced by this film, delivers a performance that is worth the ticket fare alone. Evie is so manipulative, so seductive, and so real that you can't possibly blame Tracy for wanting to be like her.
Whoever it is who decides who gets the Oscars - wake up and realise that you need to award these to the performances, not the actors who wear the nicer dresses!
Thirteen is one of the more powerful pieces of cinema around. The camera probes right into the livers of our protagonists, denying anyone the joy if seeing this grim masterpiece from a safe distance. The soundtrack rocks along to the emotions of the characters. The performances create not only a good film, but a little disturbing slice of life.
Having seen Thirteen, I now understand why people label some films as important. this is certainly one of them.
Wow. Talk about a train wreck. Of course I'm speaking in reference to the
life of Tracy, the main character, not the movie itself. I give props to
the cast and crew, they all got mad skillz. Now for a more intellectual
look toward the dystopic view of adolescence and the loss of
Now that I've thoroughly confused old and young alike, here's the meat and bones of why I think you should see this movie. The movie captures the creation of the emotional rift between an adolescent girl and her mother. While the rift is eventually healed, the impact on the viewer is anything but easily forgotten about. The movie is shocking, don't assume that it won't shock you; these kids do more (insert ANY shocking noun here, i.e. sex, drugs, etc.) in a day than an average college student, at least a college student like me, would SEE, much less do, in an enitire semester.
Evan Rachel Wood, who plays Tracy, gives a (dare I say it about someone so young?) Oscar-worthy performance in her portrayal of an emotionally troubled juvenile. She captures the mood swings, the dark brooding, the joy of being that age perfectly. If there was ever a reason for being scared of having a child, much less a daughter, having a daughter like Evan Rachel Wood's character would be it.
Nikki Reed, the co-writer of the script, deserves notation for her breakout performance. Her acting was very good, considering that she has never had any experience in the field ever. Rather than detract from her performance, her inexperience in selling her character to the audience only added to the dark, manipulative side of her character. If she studies the art and craft of acting, she will be a presence in Hollywood for years to come.
Holly Hunter gives another stellar performance. Her character's balance, or lack thereof, between the enforcer of parental-rules and her desire to be involved in her daughter's life perfectly captures the connundrum of every parent. The climax of the film, featuring Hunter and Wood, reminds the viewer of the intensity that raw emotion can create when you put two amazing actresses together and set the pressure-cooker on Nuclear Meltdown.
Thirteen is a must-see if you are entering middle school, or if you have a daughter entering middle school. Better yet, go see it with your daughter; you will both be talking about it for a long time. I give it a whole-hearted 10 out of 10.
One of the most common criticisms of "Thirteen" is that it is
'unrealistic'. However, "Thirteen" never claims to portray all thirteen
year olds, hell, it doesn't even claim to portray a significant number
of them. This film is about the select few who choose to take a certain
path in life. They have no true parental figures, their lives are in
shambles, and they are making a quick and painful transition into
supposed adulthood. Notice the other people in the school scenes,
they're normal, they're just studying, hanging out with their friends,
and going through the motions of school life. Those aren't the people
that are being portrayed here.
Nikki Reed, an immense young talent, plays Evie Zamora, the hottest and arguably most popular girl in school. Evan Rachel Wood plays Tracy, a girl who still keeps her stuffed animals and Barbie dolls on her bed, and whose parents have divorced recently and whose mother works as a hairdresser out of her home to support the family. Tracy goes to junior high completely oblivious of any of the social pressure that's present, and begins to idolize Evie, obviously a terrible role model. In an outstanding early scene, Tracy follows Evie into a shopping mall and is initially appalled at the idea of shoplifting, but in a desperate attempt to fit in with the 'cool' crowd, she steals a purse from a woman who sat next to her, and finds Evie again, at which point she is accepted. Sooner rather than later, Tracy is drawn into a terrible depression which she deals with by using drugs, cutting herself, and being sexually promiscuous. She does all this completely uncertain of whether she wants to, and mostly because she's following Evie's lead. To say that no 13 year olds have experiences similar to this is pure ignorance, and if you're a parent who thinks this is unrealistic- think again, and think hard. In today's world, narcotics are available as easily as candy bars, and pop stars are more like porn stars, putting pressure on today's teens to become promiscuous sooner in life.
Wood is a terrific, terrific actress who has made some questionable career choices before and since this, but I hope to see her continue to star in films like "The Upside of Anger" and "Down in the Valley". However, in this particular film, even her tremendously powerful performance pales in comparison with Holly Hunter's Oscar-nominated supporting role as Tracy's mother, and by Nikki Reed, who, in her first ever acting role, is nothing short of stunning. This role is very, very racy for any 15 year old to take on, and Reed, who also co-wrote this film's terrific script with Catherine Hardwicke, takes it on with maturity I've never seen before from an actress of her age. First time director Catherine Hardwicke does a great job here, her work is inventive and adds real grit to this tale.
The bottom line is, "Thirteen" is a great, realistic, disturbing urban drama that you should watch with an open mind and with knowledge that it is based in fact. This is a challenging and brave film, and everyone involved has gained immediate respect from me. One of the best of 2003.
Tracy is a normal thirteen-year-old girl, dressed in bright pastels,
bedroom full of soft toys and with giggly thoughts of boys. Starting
school in the new term she finds everyone in awe of Evie Zamora and her
friends all of who have suddenly turned into sexy young ladies over
the summer. With her goofy kid look, Evie blanks Tracy until she
impresses her by stealing a purse to go shopping. As Evie gets in with
Tracy's mum Mel, she also takes Evie into her own world of rebellion
involving stealing, drink, disobedience, drugs and sex. Mel struggles
to hold on to the small parts of her daughter that she still
At many points in our lives we all change and perhaps the first time it happens is the hardest to deal with. The stage where everyone seems to go from just being kids to suddenly being a peer group is a major one and this film, for all its extremes, does justice to the difficulties (for everyone) of the period in a story that is well written, cleverly directed and really well acted by the whole cast. The plot builds well on minor changes to Tracy and makes it totally clear where the pressure is coming from and how it affects her; in this regard the script is spot on and is totally convincing. When it goes to extremes it does show signs of stretching and almost breaking but it never does while it is extreme it is still convincing and only two or three moments seem like they are going too far. Certainly I can't imagine many parents will be able to watch it without worrying about how they and theirs will handle the change when it comes.
While the writing is great, there does come a point where it needs to end and, while unconvincing, the film does at least draw to an end on an ambiguous ending and only the final shot of a 'isn't life hard' scream from Tracy struck a duff note and was too clumsy. As co-writer, Reed shows a real awareness of the world around her and she deserves the praise she got for that role but also her performance as Evie is praise worthy, but perhaps not to the extent that Wood's is. Wood takes us from a child to womanhood and never hits a duff note in her portrayal of a girl just trying to fit in.
She is excellent and her dynamic with Hunter is a perfect fit and also convincing; in my mind she is better than Reed because Wood had a more complex character to develop Wood had to change her character, Reed played a character who was already there. Hunter deals with some minor clutter in her character but generally she is as good as her teenage cos-stars. Minor support roles for people like Sisto, Unger and Clarke all add to the film but really the film belongs to the lead trio. Director Hardwicke directs with style and with an eye for the clever shot at times using fast camera motions while in one key scene just letting the camera frame the front room like it was a stage. She also uses a clever touch in tainting the film stock a washed out colour when Tracy's bubble finally bursts we immediately go from bright colours to washed out blue and, even with the conclusion we only return to dark browns and not the highs of the main story.
Overall this is a very good film that is hard to watch if you have pre-teen kids. It has extremes in there and it won't apply to every teenager out there but to just call it unrealistic is to ignore the reality of peer pressure and the sexualisation of youth generally. The script is convincing, frightening and moving and is greatly helped by three great performances from Reed, Wood and Hunter.
Don't listen to the negative comments on this movie if you are a lover
of indie films.
Thirteen's superb actors will make you feel like the story actually happened. There is so much passion, so much realistic drama, you will relive your teenage years.
Catherine Hardwicke deals with the issues that are present in today's very YOUNG teenagers that most of us like to close out.
If you want to go see a good studio movie...sure...go see a beautiful mind. If you know anything about what makes a good independent film...this is one of the best.
This movie is very real. It's depressing too, because the situations the characters face are so familiar. The cast is fantastic. True talent is shown by the way the characters' complex personalities are so easily understood. The mother's situation is one that so many mothers can relate to. She glances away for just a moment - a moment that slips right past her when she wasn't paying full attention. Almost overnight it's as if her daughter has become a completely different person. It is an eye-opener for all parents of young teenage girls. My overall mood/feeling after watching it reminded me of how I felt after I watched The Basketball Diaries. Super-real.....no sugar-coated fluff in this film. I thought it was excellent - both informative & well-written.
Thirteen is a fresh look at what children go through today. It is honest and terrifying, for some they can relate to the pain, frustration, and confusion that the main character goes through but for others it can serve as an eye-opening view of what that life is like. For those who think this is like any other teen-on-drugs movie I'd have to say they are completely wrong. True the movie does show a girl experimenting with drugs and sex but it also taps into the emotional and psychological problems that drive kids today to do so. The honesty of the main characters cutting problems is absolutely both terrifying and breath taking. I think thirteen was one of the most truthful and beautiful movies I have seen in a long time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What do you get when you throw a 13-year-old girl and a fifty something
old lady in a room together and tell them to churn out a script?
Apparently, it's "Thirteen," which is in my opinion one of the biggest
cinematic abominations of all time.
This garbage heap of silver screen melodrama tells the story of a 13 year old girl named Tracy who, over the course of what seems like a week, is turned into a drug-using, self-mutilating hussy when she befriends a "popular girl" named Evie (is it just me or is there too much business over who's "popular" and who's not in films about adolescence?). Throughout the course of all this, she begins turning on her mother and her family, who seem kind of unshaken by most of it until the last 15 minutes of the film.
Perhaps my hatred for this film comes mainly from the way the girls at my school talk about and how it was "Just like real life." Keep in mind that these girls are rich white suburbanites, not poverty-stricken kids in the ghetto like the ones in the movie. But putting that aside, I'd say that the film's biggest problem is it's script, in that it is entirely unrealistic and melodramatic. I watched this movie with people who said they loved it, and at times even they laughed at some of the dialog. Apparently for the girls at my school, "Guys I totally just stole all this!" "I don't think I've ever seen this much money in my life!" "Let's go shopping!" "Hell yeah!" is realistic dialog. The next major problem is the acting. Evan Rachel Wood's Tracy is entirely irritating and ridiculous, and while watching this film I found myself not feeling sympathetic but annoyed. I grit my teeth every time she speaks.
Most of the praise for this film moves towards Holly Hunter's performance as Tracy's clueless mother. I know a lot of moms in real life who are like her in that they try to be hip and let their daughters do whatever they want, but I can't see playing that role as much of a challenge. Tell me, when was the last time someone won an Oscar for acting stupid and clueless? Lastly, we move on to Catherine Hardwicke's pretentious style. The look of this film is mainly grainy steady cam shots that inter cut with one another. Granted, there are some sequences that look and sound pretty alright, but for regular scenes it's just annoying. This should be studied by filmmakers who want to make up for their abysmal storyline and acting with fake art-house cinematography that will land them a spot at that super-indie underground film festival, Sundance. You know, the one with it's own cable channel.
I'd say avoid this one at all costs, and if you hear someone say something nice about it, don't take their phone calls.
The fact that this was actually written by a thirteen year old girl says it all. The movie begs sympathy for these girls while the only people actually doing harm to them are themselves. That alone is an extremely frustrating fact. In addition to that, the story is terrible and lacking in actual interesting points, and is obviously made only for angsty teens as delusional as these characters. If you are a depressed suburban kid under the false idea that your family hates you or that your mom's boyfriend is irresponsible for recovering from a drug addiction then I'm sure you would love this movie. If you are reasonable and mature, It would be a very good idea not to waste your time. The stupidity of the characters is not at all compelling and only frustrates you.
***WARNING:THIS MIGHT BE A SPOILER*** Look, I'm no Ebert or Ropert, but I do want to say that I though this movie was amazing. I watched it when I was thirteen; I was channel-surfing and found this movie, and, it being entitled "Thirteen", I thought it would be interesting. I'm so glad that I watched this movie two years ago because I honestly believe that it showed me the reality of drugs and sex and that entire lifestyle (look, I'm not stupid. I know it's glamorized for Hollywood, but it's as real as movies get, okay). I honestly think that "Thirteen" is a very well filmed movie; one thing I noticed was that the movie began in full color, correct? but as her life got darker and darker, so did the movie. By the end, it was nearly in black and white, but when Tracy woke up after her mom found out about her cutting, it was back to color. The language used, the actions of the people, everything...just so realistic, or, as I said before, as real as Hollywood would let it get. Basically, I loved "Thirteen" and recommend it to any teenager who isn't impressionable enough to want to do drugs and have sex because "Evie seems so cool". (There's a post by a girl who tried that. What a mad, mad world we live in.) Thanks, Bianca
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