Prolific production designer and art director Catherine Hardwicke makes her directorial debut with the coming-of-age drama Thirteen. Los Angeles teenager and overachiever Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) is an excellent student in her seventh grade class and gets along well with her mother, Melanie (Holly Hunter). She fears that she's not cool enough to ...
Prolific production designer and art director Catherine Hardwicke makes her directorial debut with the coming-of-age drama Thirteen. Los Angeles teenager and overachiever Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) is an excellent student in her seventh grade class and gets along well with her mother, Melanie (Holly Hunter). She fears that she's not cool enough to be friends with Evie (Nikki Reed), the most popular girl in school. Fueled with genuine adolescent energy, Tracy follows Evie's lead into the harsh realities of sex, drugs, and hard-edged adventure. Consumed with temptations and conflicting desires, Tracy loses her good-girl identity, greatly affecting her relationship with her mom. Partly autobiographical, Thirteen was co-written by Hardwicke and actual 13-year-old Reed, who are close family friends. Originally intending to write a teen comedy, they ended up creating a hard-hitting drama exposing the contemporary teenage experience. Thirteen was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, with Catherine Hardwicke taking home the Director's Award. Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
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GENRE: Drama, coming of age, adolescent girls
CAST: Evan Rachel Wood, Nikki Reed, Holly Hunter and Sarah Clarke
PLOT: In an effort to fend off peer pressure, A young girl begins a personality transition. She goes from clean cut, poetry writing honor student to sex, drugs, and masochistic practitioner. Her new best friend usurps the place of her mother in her life and so the mother watches from a distance and wonders, "what the F...?". Will she live to a ripe old age? check back in fifty.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT: 9 of 10; The acting is worthy of more accolades than it gathered (several nominations for best actress and support). There are long unbroken stretches of dialogue which fine tune the development of character. Some of the cuts of when she's letting loose (high) are too much like a music video, but hey, it works.
DVD BONUS: Overdubbed commentary by the director/co-writer Catherine Hardwicke, co-writer/co-star Nikki Reed (yes the dark haired girl of the pair helped write this story, but it's not she claims autobiographical), Evan Rachel Wood and Jeremy Sisto, who played Wood's brother.
ADDED NOTES: The movie I watched just prior to this one was "Peyton Place" with no specific comparison planned. But the tales are strikingly similar. All the bad things are in both: abuse, abandonment, peer pressure, self analysis, intervention attempts, single mother, etc. My how fifty years is different and isn't different at all. The names have changed, the music, the clothes, city size also. The fact of innocent little girls having the reality of the real world forced upon them hasn't changed a bit. Where's progress?