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4.2 out of 5 stars115
4.2 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 6 May 2004
The story of the downward spiral of a 13 year old girl called Tracy, led astray by the 'popular' kid in school, is not shocking but a question poser because of the style that its shot in. The action is fast moving as the girls ascention into adolescance spirals out of control. The use of drugs, alcohol and sexual exploration are well placed and acted out with taste and distintive style, as not to attract the wrong kind of attention to the picture. Nicki Reed's (who plays the bad girl, Evie) story of corruption and exploitation is striking to the eye and the heart. The fact that she co-wrote the script, based on her own experiences, is mind bogling because of her tender age of 15! The eventual destrucive nature of their relationship is brilliant viewing because the acting is 1st class, led by Oscar winner Holly Hunter. A small but major part is assigned to Jeremy Sisto (Billy from Six Feet Under) as a recovering drug addict, for whom Tracy uses as a catalyst for her teenage rebellion!
An accurate portrayel of inner city life in California, "Thirteen" allows the outside world to get a small glimpse at what impressionable teenagers have to deal with in a overly demanding society. The story also deals with betrayel by Tracy and Evie and the path friendship takes when desperation is the motivation.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 February 2013
Thirteen is the story of two (you guessed it) thirteen year old girls, growing up in Los Angeles. One (Tracey) is growing up `the right way,' i.e. she studies hard and is generally nice, whereas the other (Evie) is too mature for her own good, engaging in all sorts of illegal vices. However, she's also thought of as both `popular' and `cool.' Therefore Tracey is drawn into her world and things start to spiral out of control from there.

You can probably guess what out of control thirteen year old girls get up to when they're left to their own devices, so I won't dwell on that. Instead, I'll mention some of the criticism the film got, namely that too much happens too quickly. That may be true. In real life perhaps all these tragic events wouldn't happen all at once and to only one person (think `Kidulthood'), but this is a story after all and it would probably be a lot less interesting if the worst thing that happened to Tracey was that her god ate her homework. Secondly, people have said it exploits the underage female actresses. They may have a point on that one, but then so to the filmmakers, who aren't afraid of shying away from what kids actually get up to.

Thirteen is pretty hard-hitting. It's one of those films that's about kids, but you certainly wouldn't want to let your kids watch.

If it teaches us one depressing lesson, it's that people who appear nice are usually not. I found this the most realistic part of the whole film. Evie is - on the surface - lovely. She's polite to adults, always has the right answer for everything and isn't afraid at lying and dropping someone else in the brown stuff to cover her own despicable actions. Unfortunately, I have met a fair few people like that in life. They're poison and they need pointing out so others don't fall for their act.

Don't expect all sweetness and hugs from these girls. It's pretty powerful stuff and you have to be in the right mood to watch a film like this.

I'm just glad I was playing on my Megadrive at thirteen and not on the streets of L.A.
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on 16 October 2006
this film had been recommended to me by a lot of my friends though i have to say i felt quite unsure of what to expect when i first got the dvd. i was assuming it would be a typical hollywood glamorised film about the 'joys' of growing up but what i viewed really gripped me. it was realistic and down to earth and filmed in an intentionally bland colour to set the scene of hopelessness and despair in the mind of the thirteen year old girls. In my opinion it was incredaibly realistic and nail biting and showed the truth instead of sugar coating the topics. brilliant!
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on 27 June 2005
Ive just watched this film and there are parts that really get to you. Mosat people remember when they started to change (Usually around 13) like i did. But ive never seen it like this.
As you have read that its about 13 year old tracy who meats the high school girl evie, who shows tracy the real world.
They experience even more and they do drugs, cut thereselves etc. The endings a little disapointing though. Holly Hunter is a class act as Tracy's Mother. And the soundtrack is very funky.
Rent it but dont buy it, its a good one off.
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on 10 May 2009
With her life causing her problems Tracey (Wood) becomes involved with the hottest girl in school and soon becomes involved with drugs, sex and a partying lifestyle.

The pain and awkwardness of teenage life is not a subject to be taken lightly. Kidulthood, Kids and This is England all depict the struggle of growing up and trying to maintain a high level of social status whilst dealing with the hefty pressure of peers, school and love interests. Being the outsider and working your way into `the crowd' has been used as a comic device in recent years, one being Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging or as an outside subject, in other Hardwicke picture Twilight.

Thirteen therefore has a certain standard to justify considering the issues it is keen to promote and preach. So after a startling opening with Wood and Reed hitting each other senseless, we return to a few months beforehand where we see Wood's character in a more innocent light. Tracey is the ideal daughter, obedient, honest and hardworking she is the star in Holly Hunter's mother's eyes. And as the life around her starts to get too hard, Tracey makes a rash action in the form of theft and soon becomes close with Nikki Reed's Evie, the most popular girl, like ever. Yes, it's formulaic before the drama begins. Tracey is a stereotype of loneliness, always yearning for a better life and becoming popular seems like her only option etc. But looking past this we see a real drama and sadness amongst the desperate typical desires and therein lies our story.

The upbringing and hardship of Tracey's family gives her the belief and desperation to have a different life and we are soon involved in the controversy of our current society with the 13 year old taking drugs, stealing and getting herself pierced. Thirteen has a good script with many flaws and lapses but an engaging mentality nonetheless.

All concepts have been covered before but nonetheless the drama doesn't stop as the consequences are deeply shocking and undeniably intriguing. Also the concept of self harm is used, which is easily the more pertinent of all, if not used to full establishment.

The acting is terrific by Holly Hunter, where Reed and Wood do justice to the story.

Before Twilight, Hardwicke was known for this film alone. The handheld effects are good enough to rival Greengrass's in the Bourne series.

Importantly they give a strong sense of realism with extreme close ups and a brave stamina in the face of awkwardness, none more so than the piercing sequences and drug moments.

Where Thirteen may not have the preaching value of Kids or This is England, it maintains a strong desire to preach and will shock and entertain right until the end

7/10
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on 28 August 2011
Thirteen is about {Tracy} a normal,respectful and moral thirteen year old girl who has done really well at school,until She meets {Nikki} an unrespectful,filthy minded,twisted girl and with no morals at all,Tracy is fooled by her charming and so called cool little ways which will change her happy go lucky little life forever,Tracy is lured into crimes such as underage sex with lots of older boys,drugs and stealing handbags. I know this film dont sound like much but trust me it bloody well is an uncomftable,unpleasent experience plus its very very shocking and powerfully acted out exspecailly by {Wood} giving it an unpleasent realistic look into the every day lives of teenage girls led into things they should never be doing.
A BTRILLIANT,GRIPPING,REALISTIC,SADLY DISTURBING,DEEPLY SHOCKING,UNPLEASENT AND HEARTBREAKING FILM THAT WILL KEEP YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT CRYING INTO A TISSUE FROM ITS NASTY STOMACH CHURNING START TO ITS FANTASTIC AND GRIPPING ENDING
TOTALLY BREATHTAKING AND UNDENIEABLE A TRUE MUST SEE FOR EVERYONE
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Tracy is a sweet natured thirteen year old girl struggling with adolescence in a broken home. A catalyst, the return of her mother's boyfriend, an ex-cocaine addict, prompts Tracy into taking on a whole new perspective of life to deal with the turmoil inside.

She meets Evie, an outrageous troublesome thirteen year old with a toungue piercing, a belly-button ring, and a ballsy attitude to life. Intrigued, Tracy begins to idolise the girl, and they become fast friends despite Evie's obvious bad influence.

Shoplifting, piercings, drugs and underage sex have been the norm for Evie for some time, but Tracy begins to quickly learn how to fit with this strange new world her friend has introduced her to, finding that it makes life somewhat more bearable as time goes on.

What makes this film so intriguing is that it's based loosely on some of Nikki Reed's experiences as a thirteen year old and and the story was a collaboration between her and Catherine Hardwick (both whom would work again on the movie "Twilight" years later).

With a somewhat ambiguous ending, it leaves much food for thought, which generally, I think, is what is best about the movie is that several things were still left up to interpretation.

Although the movie is about teenagers, the subject matter is definately for adults and I wouldn't recommend this as being the kind of movie you would want to give young girls to watch.
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on 3 April 2007
Honest performances and beautiful cinematography do not often go hand in hand, but they do in this film. It is a study of the relationship between a mother and her 13 year old daughter, as they both grapple with their changing roles at adolescence.

Holly Hunter is magnificent as the flaky, recovering alcoholic mother who visibly matures through the film. The one of my favourite moments was early on, in a clothes shop, when you see her register her daughter's blossoming sexuality, through the smallest pause and change in her face.

Ewan Rachel Wood is brilliant at portraying the highs and lows of adolescence. The intense relationship between her character, Tracey, and that of Evie, is totally believable. From the joyfulness of skipping through the park sprinklers on a hot Summer night, to her shame and loneliness when self-harming, she gives as true and as understated a performance as Hunter's.

In the hands of a lesser cast, this film could have deteriorated into screaming melodrama. Instead, it brilliantly describes the push and pull between childhood and adulthood, that feeling of being neither one nor the other, but intensely both for short periods of time.

Highly recommended, although a great shame that it got an 18 certificate.
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on 10 February 2014
I watched this at 18 and it was pretty much like my life, apart from the drugs. When i was 13 i read harry potter and went to the cinema to see chick flicks and was generally well behaved in school, but then i grew up in the countryside so all rebellion had huge social stigma. Watching it back as an adult i didn't like Tracy's attitude to her mother, but we've all had verbal fights with our mothers during our teenage years, it's well shot and well acted.
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