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Thirteen (Catherine Hardwicke)


–2003, Catherine Hardwicke

It’s been ten years since I was thirteen. That in itself seems hard to believe sometimes, but it was especially so after seeing this movie. It took me back to the days when the rebel girl was queen of the neighborhood, and everyone wanted to be her best friend.

Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) is a normal thirteen-year-old girl until she manages to gain the attention of Evie Zamora (Nikki Reed, who also co-wrote the script), the prettiest and baddest girl on the block. What makes this movie different from most bad-teenager flicks is the understanding the writer-director has for the material, and the input of Nikki Reed, herself thirteen, certainly helps with that. Nothing in this movie rings false, though at times you wish it did. I’m sure I was not the only person to leave the theater remembering their first experiments with drugs, sex, and especially the first time they screamed at their mother to get out of their lives.

Holly Hunter is excellent as Mel, the mom that seems perfect from the outside – Evie comments that she’s like the “cool older sister,”…and does a great job of showing how the best, most caring parents can be unaware of what’s going on with their children and how to stop it.

At times the movie feels like a horror film, especially with the color and lighting changes that Hardwicke uses to great effect. And anyone who’s ever been a teenager remembers how at times it did feel like a horror movie. This movie will stay with me for a while.


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