keeps trying to convince us that we should be horrified of synthetic
boogeymen like Freddie Krueger and Jason Voorhees. But ask any parent and
theyll tell you the scariest thing in the world is a girl going through
puberty. There is nothing that can give a person the cold sweats more than
that awkward period in time when a young woman goes from stuffed animals to
stuffed bras, she loses interest in toys and gains interest in boys, she
graduates from Mary Janes to hip huggers, belly shirts and other types of
Thirteen is an
unflinching exploration of this time of life. Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) is a
young, gawky, studious, sort of nerdy girl. An outcast in the social
circles in her new junior high school, she is nonetheless thoughtful, smart,
responsible and loving to her family. But she secretly craves attention and
popularity. She also has a secret tendency to lock herself in the bathroom
and run a pair of grooming scissors across her wrists until she bleeds.
Tracy finds her entree to
the popular crowd through Evie (Nikki Reed). Evie was an early bloomer who
is now a junior sexpot. She's cool, she's gorgeous, she's fearless, all the
boys want to know her... Evie is everything Tracy wishes she could be. But
beyond her in control exterior, Evie is something else. She may look 18, but
she still has the mentality of a child. She is a user who falls back
on a poor-little-misunderstood-girl hard luck story whenever things don't go her way. Evie introduces Tracy to truancy, alcohol, drugs, petty crime, piercing,
sex, lying and a form of snobbishness towards her old life, friends and
who was arguably the
best actress in the extremely talented TV ensemble that brought life to the
drama Once & Again
puts on a truly amazing display of acting. Her
character of Tracy is at times naïve, bratty, trusting, dismissive, in
control, out of control, seductive, petulant, self-pitying and Wood is
always believable. Even when her personality has been overtaken completely
by a startling casual cruelty the audience can still feel the innate
goodness in her straining with her acts.
is now 16, but she co-wrote this
film based on her own experiences when she was only 13.
Since she's a little old to play the role based on her own experiences, she
took on the part of the wild girl. As an actress, Reed is quite
wonderful as Evie. Despite the repulsive things that Evie can do, Reed
helps you remember that Evie is still just a little girl trying to
act like a
woman. Despite her apparent self-confidence, she is every bit as confused
about her life as Tracy is. Evie quite probably isn't sure why she feels
compelled to act as she does, either.
Holly Hunter is
quietly heartbreaking as a helpless mother seeing
her child spinning out of control and having no idea how to cope with it.
Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under)
is very good as Hunter's recovering coke-addict of a boyfriend who is now trying to
broker peace between a mother and daughter who are pulling in
directions. Brady Corbet
is tremendous as the older brother who wants to save his sister,
but also wants to shield his mother from the pain of Tracy's actions.
Moffett has a nice cameo as the self-absorbed
absentee father who has little
or no time for his children.
Unlike other recent
youth-gone-wild movies like Larry Clark's Kids, this movie does not
just revel in the misbehaviour of children. It makes you like them even when
you don't like what they do. You hope they can pull themselves out of the
spiral they have placed themselves in. Thirteen leads you to hope
that with work, a healing is possible. (8/03)
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Posted: August 31, 2003.