Indie Gems: Thirteen

This movie made waves back in 2003 when it released. The low budget film saw it's stars Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed break out, and earned supporting actress Holly Hunter an Oscar nomination.

"Thirteen" follows Tracey (Wood) a typical goody two shoes thirteen year old. On her first day of junior high she sees another girl her age, Evie (Reed) and she's everything Tracey wishes she could be. Gorgeous, has cool clothes, attitude, and most of all, every guy's attention. Tracey takes some series steps to get into Evie's circle and eventually becomes her best friend. We slowly watch Tracey as she falls through a downward spiral of drinking, drunks, sex, etc. "Normal adolescence behavior" so to speak.

The script was written by both Reed and director Catherine Hardwicke. It was loosely based of events that had happened in Nikki's life. That's what made it all feel so real. I could see myself at thirteen doing some of the same things (though not as extreme, mind you) and it gives you a good look at how some teens (no matter how much we want to disagree) act and dress. Tracey's character was fragile from the beginning, she was a closet cutter, had occasional anger outbursts and smoked at times. Watching her fall so easily in with Evie is almost scary because you know where it's going. Evan Rachel Wood gives a strong, strong performance. Still her best, and she deserved all the credit she got. Veteran actress Holly Hunter added a lot as Tracey's confused mother, and Nikki obviously fit in perfectly because she wrote it. Catherine Hardwicke's early films (this one, 'Lords of Dogtown') have what her newer films (Twilight) do not: Realism. The way they were shot, with the handheld camera and the quick cuts and awesome soundtrack set the tone for the movie. My favorite little tidbit is during the last scene, the color seems to fade to gray. Like Tracey's life is now fading into obscurity.

I think it's an important film to watch. Not just for film buffs, but for teens. If you want a film that's going to shock something into a teen's mind, this one is it. It could even be watched with parents, a mother daughter thing to see it from both sides. Not to mention if you rent the DVD watch it with the audio commentary as well, very interesting stuff. Also a killer soundtrack.

Recommended: Yes 4.5/5 stars

Memorable Quote: "It's happening so fast" - the film's tag line. One of my favorites


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