|Genre: Drama, Teenage, Drugs, Coming Of Age, Thieves, Gay/Lesbian|
Plot: IN THEATRES: AUGUST 20, 2003 (NY/LA)
THIRTEEN is Catherine Hardwicke's explosive portrait of teenage girls at their very worst. Mean, manipulative, conniving, and utterly out of control, these skinny, sexy, drug-addicted, 13-year-old time bombs are nothing short of terrifying. Hardwicke's movie is brilliant in its ability to portray this phenomenon, which comes off as very real. The skillful photography from cinematographer Elliot Davis communicates the most complicated themes of the film: insecurity, confusion, wanting to be liked and accepted, and feeling like it's time to grow up fast. In an early scene, protagonist Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), a shy girl and good student, approaches Evie (Nikki Reed), the school's ultra-popular bad girl, and the two size up each other's clothing, jewelry, hair, shoes, socks, and decide to go on a shopping spree. From there Tracy spirals downward, copying Evie's every move in an aggressive game of daring each other to take increasingly dangerous risks--stealing, getting piercings, experimenting with sex, drinking and taking drugs, and much more. All the while Tracy's mom (Holly Hunter) who is a bohemian ex-alcoholic trying to be open-minded and supportive about her daughter's rebellion, slowly loses her authority and her ability to cope with
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The acting is superlative, and lacks the histrionics that often accompany high-octane work by young performers.
--James Berardinelli (ReelViews)
Director Catherine Hardwicke collaborated with a teenage girl to accurately convey the gritty realities of American youth. The result goes down like medicine.
--Stephanie Zacharek (Salon)
Maybe the film is simply for those who admire fine, focused acting and writing; "Thirteen" sets a technical problem that seems insoluble, and meets it brilliantly, finding convincing performances from its teenage stars.
--Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)
"Thirteen" is less a movie than a great piece of journalism. It has all the hallmarks of serious, brilliant reporting: It pierces a culture, it pays careful attention to nuance and detail, it eschews a showy tone, it illuminates its subject. And it is very disturbing.
--Stephen Hunter (Washington Post)
The digitally shot movie, which Hardwicke wrote with the then-13-year-old Reed, may not come up with profound solutions. But it redounds with a firsthand authoritativeness. Reed and Hardwicke have turned their mutual experiences into a superbly textured -- if often disturbing -- drama. It feels like real life unfolding before your eyes.
--Desson Howe (Washington Post)
The performances are brilliant, as they lift the otherwise 'been there, done that' feel B
--Craig Younkin (Lee's Movie Info)
A very effective film that just barely misses greatness B+
--Lee Tistaert (Lee's Movie Info)
All in all, this is a moving and powerful film that stutters a bit in terms of narrative drive. And while there may be some shocking moments, there isn’t anything new you couldn’t have predicted. But ultimately it lands firmly on its feet with profound and moving performances. 8/10
--David Trier (Movie-Vault.com)
As a film about 13 year-olds written by a 13-year-old, Thirteen should have been much, much worse, but its scattered moments of clearly-realized adolescent angst are scuttled by a wandering and frequently juvenile approach.
--Chris Barsanti (FilmCritic.com)
"Thirteen," winner of the directing award at Sudance, is one of the most honest and harrowing depictions of female adolescence ever put to film.
--Jami Bernard (New York Daily News)
Well-written with superb performances, this is an impressive piece of work which really shows up Hollywood 'teen' movies for the homogenised rubbish they usually are.
--Matthew Turner (ViewLondon)
|Despite its shock value, "Thirteen" rises above dysfunctional-family-drama clich‚s, thanks to the truthfulness of its script and the keen eye of a sympathetic director. |
--Megan Lehmann (New York Post)
"Thirteen" follows an episodic structure, constructed as a series of incidents with little connection to each other. But the movie creates the illusion of a linear plot by arranging the incidents so that each successive one is more appalling than the onethat went before.
--Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle)
A surprisingly unsensationalised, brutally frank coming-of-age drama. 7/10
--Anton Bitel (Movie Gazette)
First-time director Catherine Hardwicke has fashioned a provocative, hyperkinetic journey through the highs and lows of modern adolescence that is both harrowing and touching.
--Paul Clinton (CNN Showbiz)