Thirteen (2003) Poster

(2003)

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An inconvenient truth
ametaphysicalshark17 April 2007
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.

8/10
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10/10
Scary, Beautiful, Gritty Picture of Adolescence
DJExcen8 February 2004
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 innocence.

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.
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10/10
Proof that the oscars are rigged...
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.
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9/10
This movie is very real & very depressing because the situations are so familiar.
laurendaugherty28 November 2006
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.
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10/10
Thirteen--An Elite Indie Film
dancegodis25 July 2007
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.
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Occasionally goes to extremes but is very convincing with great characters in the hands of three actresses all giving great performances
bob the moo29 September 2004
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 recognises.

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.
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10/10
Emotionally unforgettable
oc1231116 July 2006
I've been reading through the comments on here, and I'm wondering if I watched the same movie as everyone else. I was honestly blown away by this film, and agree with every praise that the critics have given it.

I think it's silly to say that Tracy was one-dimensional at all. She clearly had so much built-up frustration towards her mother, and her mother's boyfriend. Evan Rachel Wood did a perfect job of conveying the slow inner-destruction of Tracy.

It's hard to believe that Nikki Reed had no experience before this film. She absolutely nailed the manipulative attitude of Evie, while also making the viewer like her.

Holly Hunter's absolutely blew me away. Aside from Charlize Theron in Monster, and Felicity Huffmann in Transamerica, I can't think of a better performance than Hunter's. You could actually see the terror and panic in her face as she watched her daughter slowly slip deeper and deeper into trouble.

The final scene in the movie with Wood and Hunter is one of the most powerful scenes I've ever seen. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone.
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10/10
breathtaking and honest
morrisonbaby196910 September 2007
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.
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10/10
Very Excellent!
Chrissy F6 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Thirteen is an excellent movie. I am 19 years of age and when this movie first came out I was 15 years old. I loved it as soon as I watched it and I ended up buying it. It is one of the first movies that I have seen where a cutter is not looked down on and where the ending does not leave the viewer with false hopes. It is an excellent movie that gives everyone a real insight into a teenage girls life. It shows very well how Tracy has a hard time coping with life, drugs and things at home so she turns to drugs, boys, sex and cutting to comfort herself. This is sad to say but this is how many teens today are learning to deal with there pain by cutting themselves and loosing themselves in drugs. Very excellent movie that will open anyone eyes and leave u sitting in your seat wondering about yourself and your children if you have any.
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10/10
Moved, and inspired
mest624329 March 2006
Wow, This movie...

I honestly thought it was amazing. Not for just the acting (which was very good also) but the whole storyline.

Some people look at what these girl are doing and don't think its happening...but really it is...and i know this because i see it everyday right in front of my eyes...

I have friends who are thirteen who have smoked pot and cigarettes, Self-mutilated(cutting), drank many different kinds of liquor, have hit all 4 bases with guys...and there only 13...and my old best friend has been sucked into this vortex of rebellion and hatred and just dropped everything....to make a long story short this movie taught me the bad results of all these things...

My friends dropped me, her family, her religion and her whole life because someone else told her to....and watching this movie was a great inspiration not to do anything like this....

Go out and rent this movie immediately...its amazing the acting, the drama, the everything, right down to the way they film it.....

10 stars
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10/10
Loved it.
sugaspice089124 November 2006
***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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1/10
My hatred for this movie is Unexplainable
SpansonCrackle2426 December 2005
Warning: 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.
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5/10
over-rated, fair
ShrekMemento4 September 2003
weeeelll I thought "thirteen" was just okay. The main reason I found it just okay, was that it just wasn't that interesting and believable to me. Before you start bashing me for the 'believable' comment, I'd like to address something. Unlike many detractors of 'thirteen', I won't say the things portrayed in the movie dont happen. They do. However, what I found INCREDIBLY unbelievable was how Tracy transformed into a bad ass, selfish, mean bitch instantly immediately after meeting Evie. She didn't evolve into a badass, selfish, mean bitch. She immediately became one in the scene right after meeting Evie. One scene she was the sweet, smart 'nerdy' girl, the VERY NEXT SCENE she was the selfish angry bitch. The transformation just wasn't shown. Also, I felt the bulk of the movie was trying to shock us by constantly one-upping the stakes and shocking us. The two things that show the movie's true intentions of shocking us is (1)the movie's opening scene which has absolutely NO reason to open the movie and (2) the provocative poster showing the girls' tongue rings. However, I thought it was a promising performance by Evan Rachel Wood. While it is impressive that she co-wrote a screenplay at such a young age, Nikki Reed's performance is nothing special. On the other hand, Holly Hunter gives perhaps her best performance ever as Tracey's mother. And I thought the final few minutes were very true and heartfelt- it almost made me think I liked the entire movie. I know no-one will agree with me, because it seems like everyone either LOVES the movie or HATES it, but I thought 'thirteen' was a fair movie with a few very good aspects.
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5/10
The film-makers have no clue
Warning: Spoilers
OK, this film is good in some respects but then absolutely rubbish in others- that's why I gave it a five. Holly Hunter is brilliant is the mom, no question.

My main problems are with the script and directing. It seems to come from the point of view of someone who has no idea what the marijuana and drug culture as a teenager is like. Rather than being an insider view telling a story that needs to be told to the world, it feels like an outsider trying to imagine the most horrible things they could- and then directing in the similar fashion of 'imagining' what it's like- and that is impossible to do well. Sorry if that was confusing.

The directing is too cliché and at times all too 'obvious' (I know that sounds ridiculous, let me explain). I was expecting a gritty realism to the direction and instead I got a slow motion montage of 3 goth/punk chicks walking very stylishly down a corridor in time to a very average punk rebellion song to emphasise their new rebellion awesomeness. Then, when Tracy commits self harm in the bathroom, there is no sense of desperation or attempt at really understanding. You're just told 'LOOK AT THIS GIRL SELF-HARMING'.

I could go on so I'll end now. This film is NOT a gritty and realistic one. It is an outsider's view of a culture that the film-makers do not understand.
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6/10
Only surprising/shocking if you're an aloof parent
jreasa28 March 2006
This was a movie that I viewed with minimal expectations, given the premise of the film seemed to be of the "OMG kids these days!!!" variety.

I just recently turned 22, and I can say without exaggeration that these girls are relative amateurs given their age and promiscuity compared to some that I went to school with, in terms of their proclivities in the film. Without giving much away, the movie relies too heavily on shock value, as if the film can be carried in its entirety on jaws dropping in the viewing audience. Perhaps for adults in a white-collar community, this is good enough. Since nothing in the film startled me one bit, the lack of rich substance by the way of plot and character development left me wondering what the point was.

The acting is very good, and the only reason I rate the movie above a "5". Despite this, there's nothing much there. Personally, I experienced my first roaring hangover at age 13, and learned quickly the wonders of "moderation". Some kids just have a natural inclination to give in to peer pressure, and don't exactly learn the first, second, or third time around. It isn't a glaring and growing problem in society; it's a fact of life. Why a movie needs to be made to highlight what is only one portion of teenage life is beyond me.
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fantastic!
very37 December 2004
I think we have all known a girl like evie.she's the type that you could drop her in any city'school or area in America, and she will hit the ground running and be THE popular wild girl everyone wants and lusts after and who everyone wants to hang around.no matter where she moves, she will become the in crowd.

I think the movie captured the essence of that type of girl perfectly. she really is an interesting character.bad girl,YET because she can be so engaging she disarms immediatlly. notice how evie goes against the usual bad girl type cast by doing little odd things such as happily and in a very friendly way offers her new friends nerdy friend a slice of pizza.see the duo faces of the girl?her beauty and sweetness out of the blue knock people off guard allowing her to pretty much run riot in any situation and get away with it.

hard to believe the actress who played her also had a hand in the script.so young.but she is headed for big things, if not in the acting dept,most likely the writing.
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It was great!!
djsteve32110 December 2004
I really liked the movie. It explains the whole way a teens life can take a one-eighty in a split second. It shows what us teens have to go through in life, school, friendships, relationships. It gives people a feel for our lives as teens and how some of us deal with drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. The movie really explains to people what can happen in one persons life let alone a whole group of them. It spoke to me and a few of my friends that watched it. It is a powerful movie that I will recommend for many others to watch. It deeply made me think about my friends at school and if they are going through the same situation or worse. Is there a way I can help them? The movie is excellent and I believe every teen and young adult as well as adults should watch the movie and see what their kids may/may not be going through in life.
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10/10
My favorite film!
willyboymcoy12 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw this film when I was 17 after purchasing it. When it was over, I sat in my chair with a daze and thought, "WOW! Why didn't see that when it first came out?!" For several minutes afterward, I still felt the power of this motion picture. The film is shot hand-held (except for three shots) which enhances realism. Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood have great chemistry in this picture and their performances are top-notch (Holly should've won the Oscar). For a first-time actress, Nikki Reed's performance is also amazing. This film is probably the most real look at adolescence because it shows what teens go through and how far we (teens) are willing to go to fit in. This whole film is an American masterpiece and is a must-see for those who love movies.
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10/10
One of the best movies i have seen in a long time.Very realistic,Its a master piece (try not to contain spoilers)
Antony Wingate31 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Spamfrwdchainkiller

This movie is about a teenage girl who starts off as a innocent young girl. But you watch her try and fit in with the cool girls. She gets one friend who's a really nasty bad influence and slowly she turns into a slutty mean b!tch. (sorry for my language) She simply loses interest in her good friends and joins the cool kids. You slowly watch her do drugs, Sex, stealing all the things that could go wrong with a teen.

The movie IS NOT FOR TEENAGERS! This is not a teen flick in anyway. Its a very well done DEEP movie. The events aren't Corny and blatant. Most of the acting is very realistic and well done.

To start with it made me angry how bad she was. Stealing is wrong, But especially the way she treated her parents, Telling her carm mother to f#ck off. But slowly i began to feel emotion for her. We are keeped very hidden from her real emotions because thats what b!tchy teenage girls do. All teenagers for that matter. They keep there 'I don't give a sh!t' attitude.

This is the only real movie i have ever liked that contains teenagers. The last thing i thought i would like is a movie about mean, Sluty teenagers. But the movie is just so realistically done.

Its not trying to say "Oh my god poor girl is doing drugs' 'Wow look at what she has to go through' It is what it is. And its a great movie. The acting at times never gets hugely deep, But most teenagers like her act very simple. It may confuse some people. Its not a die-hard movie, Or 007.

But its a really really good movie witch shows how bad a teenager can go.

Swearing at parents,Drugs, Acting like prostitutes, drinking, Smokeing, A lot of us teenagers like to act like we are way older than we really are. I see so many girls my age and way younger, smoking, Drinking, Getting it to lezzy sex, acting like a b!tch. (The more good looking you are the more likely you will be like that) And i think this movie shows it in the most artistic and realistic way possible.

Please watch this movie, Its really good. Don't mind the bad reviews they just don't get it. No matter how good of a movie there will always be one or more reviews named, Probley the worst movie ever made.

I have seen a few comments saying. 'Should i let my daughter watch this movie??' Thats a hard one. First off its a VERY VERY mature movie. I would be careful because in this day and age its cool to be a bi%ch. Another thing the movie covers is girls cutting them self. A lot OF TEENAGE GIRLS DO THIS. I would be careful that your girl doesn't decide 'Im such an hurt individual i need to cut my self' 'Or they can see cutting them self as cool,

Please hire this movie out. Judge for yourself. It may not be your cup of tea, But no one can watch it and state its a bad movie. You just cant.

Great, heavy, Deep movie 10/10
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10/10
wonderful movie
suicide_ballroom30 March 2004
I found this film to be one of the best I have ever seen. Some will read this and think..."well, he hasn't seen many movies." That fact is true. I found the movie very well written and acted. At some points during the movie, I wanted to rip my heart out and give it to the lead character "Tracy." The girl that played her did an incredible job. I read some reviews that said she over-acted and such. I never thought that...have you ever had a spat with a 13 year old girl? It's always overly dramatic and ends with her stomping to her room screaming. That's a teenager for you.

The movie makes you think, and that's what I like about it. No, not every teen is doing what she is doing. No, not every teen is acting like she does. However, all teens are dealing with peer pressure and the urge to be accepted. This movie portrays the state of mind of a teenager beautifully. Definitely ****
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2/10
Silly and Self-Indulgent
halfzware4 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
It's no surprise that "alternative" festivals are hot and bothered over this latest escapade in teen-trash bilge water cinema.

Minimalism is de rigeur these days as regards plot development, acting capabilities and overall sophistication. Ms. Wood and her tweenie friend (whose name escapes me) have carved out a disposable product, MTV style, flash-bulb and strobe film. Underneath the nauseating camera effects, overdramatized portrayals of teen life and mindnumbingly degenerate performances, there's absolutely nothing worth hanging on to. Holly Hunter turns in a one-dimensional, predictable performance, and it's a dimension you've seen before (Home Alone springs to mind, only Ms. Hunter smokes cigarettes, drinks tea and has sex with an unattractive druggie). Ms. Wood and her pal smoke cigarettes (Sassy!), huff unidentified cleaning products (Dangerous!), assault each other (Edgy!) and kiss each other (when will that cease to be shocking??!?!?!?). Other people appear intermittently, but who's even bothered to remember them?

The swirling montages of consumerism are a tired retread of everything we've seen in pop culture since The Communist Manifesto, and Ms. Wood et al would have us believe that America's youth is troubled because of the pressure to wear thong underwear and make out with older black boys.

I want to know: where is the tension in this movie? Where is the plot? Where is the acting? Why should we feel any connection to these

crudely rendered characters?

I could go on, but "Thirteen" has done nothing to justify that additional effort.
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1/10
unlucky number
misterpennycandy1 February 2004
Tolstoy once said that all dysfunctional families are different, and all happy families are the same. Then again, it might be the other way around -- I'm not sure, I can't remember and I don't care (neither do you.) As THIRTEEN (the new film which, in the words of my thirteen year-old little nephew, we're all supposed to go "oooh oooh" about) wishes to stress that all dysfunctional families ARE the same. THIRTEEN may have a lot of heart, but that's it's problem. It's nothing but heart, and has very little [sympathy] for its supposed hero. If I'm not mistaken, this film was written by a thirteen year-old; it's called thirteen; and it's about thirteen year-olds -- this makes it unique - a film experiment of sorts. In fact, when I heard about it in all the "thinking man's" magazines, not much attention was paid to the quality. It reminds me of the fifteen year-old writer I read about in the Times, who had his first novel published on a whim by some stupid publisher. The content and quality are irrelevant, the fact that a thirteen year-old girl can write a screenplay is so astonishing (to some) that the movie is instantly garners some attention. And, I will grudgingly admit, it deserves it. This is the first movie to (sort of) address jailbait, or underage girls who are sexually active. Although their exploits do not reach far beyond sucking off the occasional brown-skinned fellow (which was a strange choice by the writers, but makes sense in its own little way) the sexual encounters are well executed, but everything else in the movie is stilted, and unrealistic. The first thing in the film that not only surprised, but genuinely upset me, is that Rachael is not a depressed character, yet she cuts herself and lashes out at her recovering drug-addict mother with venom. She's an empty vessel, a dimensionless character -- a large, clean dinner plate encompassing every teen "issue" on the menu. Whereas most sad, little girls mutilate themselves because (according to some "experts") the healing of the cuts makes them happy, echoing the purgation of inner pain -- Rachael is an afterschool special; every "Lifestories: Families in Crisis" character ever. The "dysfunctional family" scenes are so hokey, they're comical (such as Rachael and her brother, Mason, playing tug-of-war with a broom) and the fact that we view them through lame director Catherine Hardwicke's use of the dutch-angle shot and shake and bake-cam packs all the more pulled punches. The idea that a thirteen year-old could write a screenplay does not baffle me. I recently saw a film called "White Oleander" with an equally clumsy narrative structure, which was written by an adult (who probably has a PHD in pap) and you wouldn't know it was about a dysfunctional family if you didn't see the trailer. The thirteen year-old white girls who dress like gucci models, dance to hip-hop music and scream for joy at the thought of hooking up with the "hot guy" at their school; Rachael goes "yesss!" and starts dancing when the most popular girl in school invites her to hang -- these are a few "real" moments in the movie that are gone about terribly by the writers and director. Another example is the implicit reference to the fact that Rachael feels obligated to "keep the change," as they say, the first time she performs oral sex on a man. I feel like I'm going against everything I believe in as a film critic in saying this, but this is one of those films that doesn't rely on craft, but gets an unhealthy dose of it from the director. Don't see it, I suggest Heavenly Creatures which it is almost identical to in every way, and far superior by traditional film/literary standards.
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10/10
More real than you may think
jorogo19 April 2004
My nineteen year old daughter rented this movie on Pay Per View and when it was over, she commented that it was the best movie she had ever seen. The next evening, she, my husband, our fifteen year old daughter, and I sat down to watch it together. For people who think the content was unrealistic - you're wrong. Maybe it is because we live in New York City, but I see this behavior often. My girls were not as extreme but there were (are) definitely elements of this behavior in their teenagedom. The mother's helplessness is something I can relate to and I think Holly Hunter did an excellent job as the loving, hip, but overwhelmed mom. In fact, I think all the actors were wonderful. There were times when I had to remind myself that I was watching a movie - it was that real.

I believe that teenagers are all faced with tremendous peer pressure and Evie personifies the popular "bad" girl to a tee. I know I had my "Evie" back in the '60s and nowadays it is just a bit more dangerous. Tracy's innocence is portrayed so well as she keeps looking at Evie for hints of how to behave. She sneaks peeks at her in the sex scenes and will go to all lengths to be cool. A proper home life is not a guarantee to good behavior. Some teenagers behave exactly as Tracy and Evie and some do not. For most, they act out, but not as extreme. I found the acting in "Thirteen" to be terrific and was amazed to learn that Nikki Reed was the cowriter. I believe we can all learn a lot by watching this movie. Bring your teenagers!
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1/10
IMO The Worst Movie EVER
matjiz9 February 2005
Waaaaaaay over-dramatized. You ever get that feeling in movies where u wish u could reach into the screen and slap somebody? Well i had that throughout the whole movie. I still can't believe I stuck around for the whole 100mins of pure sh!t. I hate when people think they have it bad when they don't, her life was great! considering the majority of kids grow up without both parents, it now seems abnormal to have both =0). plus she was just a little whiner, I mean I know she's only 13, but Jesus Christ grow up. she cried more then cuba goodin in boyz in tha hood. and thats bad. honestly I thought terror toons was the worst movie i've ever seen, until i seen this.just another trendy ass movie trying to reach the pussy ass kids in the new generation. get a job
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Over-dramatic!
Meekah10 July 2004
I'm a teenager and I thought this movie looked pretty interesting when I saw the previews. The performances were excellent , the directing and art direction was superb , it seemed amazing (although the lighting and contrast was a bit weird sometimes) However , the plot is a little unrealistic. Yes , thirteen year olds do have some changes , can get into drugs and start into sexual activity , but the degree of all those things they show in the movie is a little over-exaggerated for a thirteen year old. Maybe fifteen or sixteen would have been a bit more believable. I found a lot of the "shocks" in the movie weren't that shocking. It's not realistic , I think the main purpose of the movie is to scare the parents of every thirteen year old girl who think that this is what every teenage girl is up to. Worth watching once to see the performances , but I can't really take it seriously as a film accurately depicting a thirteen year old. 6/10
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