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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 29.07%
Average: 10.47%
Pretty Bad: 8.14%
Total Crap: 15.12%

3 reviews, 68 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"I was a teen-ager. I don't need to be reminded that it sucks."
3 stars

Evan Rachel Wood's performance in "Thirteen" is far better than "Thirteen" is. She plays a middle school student named Tracy who is in the painful stage between childhood and adolescence, just learning how to be a woman and doing it all wrong, particularly due to having the wrong person mentoring her. Wood, who is 14, is absolutely fearless in her portrayal of pubescent angst, piercing the film with emotion that is absolutely convincing.

The film, alas, is not as good. Directed by first-timer Catherine Harwicke, it casts about for solid footing and is unable to locate it. The setting is L.A., where society's skewed view of how women ought to be is visible on every billboard and signpost, and that theme is examined very briefly as a factor of Tracy's behavior. Much greater attention, however, is paid to Tracy's friend Evie (Nikki Reed, who co-wrote the screenplay, incredibly), a rootless, amoral "bad girl" who soon has Tracy acting, thinking and dressing just like her. Sex, drugs and stealing are all part of Evie and Tracy's lifestyle, as Tracy's mother Melanie (Holly Hunter, playing yet another put-upon single mom) looks on in distress.

All of this is well and good, but what's the point? If it's a story about the dangerous influence of evil friends -- "Tracy was playing with Barbies before Evie came along!" Melanie yells during a catfight royale with Evie's useless foster parent -- then why the overriding emphasis on Tracy's emotions? The implication starts to be that Tracy would have gone this way anyway, or at least that this is fairly typical rite-of-passage stuff for young girls -- in which case, what purpose does Evie serve in the movie at all? Characters who function only as catalysts don't generally warrant this much screen time.

In the end, I suspect we've been given an accurate representation of the brattiness, rebellion and overwhelming emotion that comes with being a 13-year-old girl. The question is what we, or any of the characters, have learned about it. We've been through an ordeal -- and one thrillingly acted by Wood -- but why?

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/08/03 02:34:47
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This film is available for download or online viewing at For more in the series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/08/16 David Hollingsworth Shocking and truthful depiction of teen girls on the edge. 5 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. every parents worst nightmare. 4 stars
2/22/08 art A REALISTIC LOOK AT TEEN LIFE IN L.A. 4 stars
8/29/06 David Cohen If you think talkshows are high drama, this is your kind of movie 1 stars
8/19/06 Beau GREAT, evan rachel wood and hunters acting was outstanding 5 stars
4/01/06 matt Shallow messages, zero pacing, Holly Hunter has the acting skills of a pile of rocks 2 stars
3/14/06 Suzi good movie 3 stars
3/04/06 omar good movie but its the main reason i dont want daughters 4 stars
11/02/05 Mimi Terrific film. Very realistic and thought out. If you're a girl, see it with your mom. 5 stars
9/08/05 bac pretty good movie 4 stars
4/25/05 Me A great film 5 stars
3/10/05 Gray die you pair of worthless whores! 1 stars
12/14/04 Ashley Baker I thought it was a great movie. Although they should have did the ending a little better. 5 stars
11/24/04 Katie OMFG i frikin love this movie!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/11/04 Karlie i think it was great. I think all teenages should watch it! 5 stars
10/24/04 corey smith this movie is great i loved watching it is kinda what some of my friends r goin in to 5 stars
10/23/04 chantel i love this movie, i thought it was great. 5 stars
10/15/04 valerie hart fantastic acting from ALL of the cast worth wotchin kl teenage flick 5 stars
9/26/04 Tor Honolulu When You Can't Control Your Own on Jerry Springer 1 stars
9/13/04 Rafael They're surely not 13, but the movie is awesome anyway 5 stars
8/13/04 Elena very realistic and daring, but lacking in plot unforunately 4 stars
7/28/04 Gray just what I need a melodrama about fucking loosers 1 stars
7/19/04 John McIntyre those girls are so not thirteen 4 stars
7/17/04 legend A shocking film on teenage girls with good performaces. 4 stars
7/16/04 Danielle It was the best movie i have ever seen in my whole entire life!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/16/04 toothpick that movie was awsome!!!and so were all the actors! 5 stars
7/13/04 Nic This movie went nowhere 2 stars
7/08/04 wildcarde1 making my 13 yr old watch it 4 stars
5/02/04 movie it was so weird 1 stars
4/13/04 Jean Wish they would just all come down...scary and good 4 stars
4/03/04 Ghetto Smurf Hey, Jade: You're a fuckwit :) 1 stars
3/29/04 Nicole im 13 and this does happen but you have to be some stupid shit to let it happen to you . 5 stars
3/23/04 Teresa the most amzing movie i have ever seen 5 stars
3/21/04 movieguy a great film 5 stars
3/13/04 Jade Gerrard The movie was awesome....hope thy'll make a nother movie ( "Fourteen") lol 5 stars
3/10/04 Amy A very "real" film and true to a lot of adolescent angst 5 stars
2/25/04 Julia Cox 1st half like SMELLY paint drying;last 3rd a hint of drama; then no ending. 1 stars
2/19/04 BB Thirteen is my favorite movie .. It's intense, deep, cool + funny [once you see it alot] 5 stars
2/08/04 Tori Loved it & thought it did really well about exposing the 'dark' side of adolesce 4 stars
2/06/04 Kristen G. At first, thought the movie was unrealistic; then researched. Not so unrealistic after all 5 stars
2/01/04 CB Movies like this hurt today's troubled teens even more. Does anyone care? 1 stars
1/21/04 Betty White Realistic, convincing teen drama; Hunter is amazing as the mother. 5 stars
1/13/04 S.D.S. This movie is great! it's a bit exajerated but it's brilliant 5 stars
1/06/04 George this movie really rocks!! 5 stars
1/06/04 Corey R. It seems like the director used this kid who "co-wrote as a gimmick for her own career. 2 stars
12/16/03 Meg why didn't the girl who "they said" co-wrote this, play the lead? 1 stars
11/26/03 Sonny S I knew this girl -and this movie is way exajerated. 3 stars
11/23/03 JD eh? 2 stars
11/18/03 Tweetie get real. 1 stars
10/08/03 R.Main Seen this movie before. Hollywood has run out of ideas. 2 stars
10/07/03 ownerofdajoint tough to watch but worth it 4 stars
10/05/03 john excellent attempt...catches a lot of the goings on 5 stars
10/03/03 Vivian I brought my thirteen year old daughter to this movie and both thought it was ridiculous. 2 stars
10/01/03 Lance Can I have my $8 back please? 2 stars
9/27/03 Corey R. It seems like this director used the kid who "co"-wrote as a gimmick for her own career. 1 stars
9/26/03 Meg Why didnt the girl who wrote it play the lead? 1 stars
9/14/03 Sonny S I knew this girl 4 stars
9/08/03 FrayLo I felt the same way after leaving American Beauty... which is good. 4 stars
8/30/03 --- In my top 5 of the year so far 5 stars
8/14/03 TZ Tried too hard to be "shocking!" way over the top. A bad version of "kids" or "manic" 1 stars
8/11/03 Carrie not very believable 3 stars
8/06/03 Lorenz Esguerra amazingingly realistic! 5 stars
6/13/03 JB blew me away... and spun me around a few times 5 stars
5/14/03 Pona This is an excellent film & well worth seeing - you could identify w/ the characters! 5 stars
5/13/03 tom bradley Best movie of 2003... HANDS DOWN! 5 stars
2/28/03 ash it was great, I loved it 5 stars
2/04/03 Charles amazing and profoundly disturbing, gave me the same feeling that i had after i saw Requiem 5 stars
2/02/03 Jenna Excellent film. Sheer brilliance. 5 stars
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  20-Aug-2003 (R)
  DVD: 27-Jan-2004



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