Thirteen movie poster
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Thirteen movie poster

Thirteen Movie Review

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The real life of the teenage girl is finally brought to the big screen in Thirteen, a gritty film about what happens to one girl who becomes corrupted by the pressures of consumerism and junior high. Okay, so hopefully this movie doesn't represent too many teenage girls, but nonetheless Thirteen is one of the best films of 2003.

Thirteen looks at the life of Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), a 13-year old (surprise, surprise) girl that has just entered junior high. She quickly becomes envious of Evie (Nikki Reed), a popular and pretty girl who wears expensive clothes and attracts the attention of every guy in the school. Evie is in complete contrast to Tracy, who is an A- student and whose mom (Holly Hunter), though troubled by financial and romantic problems, is quite loving. However, in one aggressive move Tracy falls onto the good side of Evie and is quickly drawn into a world of corruption, stealing, drugs and sex, driven by the motivation to be popular.

All actresses involved do a stellar job. Wood, 14 at the time of filming, is incredibly realistic and believable. She really did remind me of those sweet and pretty girls in elementary school that started globbing on the makeup come the pressures of junior high. Of course, the woman that is going to gain the most attention come Oscar time is Holly Hunter, who turns in a powerful and emotional performance as a mother who is left to watch helplessly as her daughter tailspins out of control. Hunter's in the only character that you can really like or truly feel sorry for by the end of the film.

Thirteen is exceptional because it is one of the few films that really shows the social pressures of upper grade schools. The events in Tracy's life are extreme and exaggerated compared to most young girls, and boys (hopefully), but even still it is true that young teenagers will go to great lengths to fit in, including completely changing their look and personality. Thirteen is so good because it is so dark and depressing; it is one of those few films that truly overpowers you by how lost the main characters become. It is hard to like what Tracy becomes, but at the same time the movie makes you root for her to change her ways.

Thirteen is a well done movie with great acting, and Holly Hunter's name may appear come Oscar time. As for the movie itself, it may be a little too shocking for the Academy, but that doesn't mean it isn't worthy of recognition.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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