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Hard hitting teenage drama
on 10 February 2005
This film pulls no punches, and viewers should be aware that this is a serious and at times disturbing portrait of female adolescence - not family viewing. The movie documents the burgeoning friendship between two teenage tearaways, Evie and Tracy. Two relative newcomers Nikki Reed and Evan Rachel Wood expertly play the central characters. Reed is also shockingly credited as co-writer along with the film's director Catherine Hardwicke. Tracy starts the film as every mothers dream daughter; she has close ties to her family, sweet local friends and is academically successful. However she is not content and so pushes her self into a destructive relationship with the schools hottest and most dangerous girl - Evie. Over a four-month period the girls proceed to push the limits of their defined society, together they experiment with drugs and alcohol, self-abuse, their sexuality, and how far they can push the authority figures in their lives.
There are no easy options or answers within this film. While it does touch on the roots of these girls' problems - the lack of father figures, abuse and neglect, mall culture, the increasing sexualisation of young women and plain teenage rebelliousness - it never seeks to give a direct or simple explanation. It is this subtlety that makes the film so powerful. The girls are portrayed neither as monsters or saints, they are a product of society they live in and yet they are fighting against its limitations. Throughout the film I felt sympathy towards all of the main characters, which is impressive given the nature of their actions, however the stand out performance from Holly Hunter as Tracy's mother really is something else.
This is a film that all parents should watch. It provides a striking insight into the desire for escape that is harboured in all angry, young people, and is a powerful and occasionally worrying glimpse of the effect of the modern world on teenage girls. From the breathtaking acting to the well written and cleverly handled subject matter I recommend this to everyone who has seen one too many American high school movies.