Plot – A thirteen-year-old girl’s relationship with her mother is put to the test as she discovers drugs, sex, and petty crime in the company of her cool but troubled best friend – Thirteen
Director – Catherine Hardwicke
Starring – Evan Rachel Wood, Holly Hunter, Nikki Reed
Genre – Drama
Released – 2003
If you liked: We Need To Talk About Kevin, Beautiful Boy, Girl Interrupted
While the acting in Thirteen isn’t perfect, A television movie with an R rating is the best way I can describe the level of writing and character development. Almost every fear a parent has when raising a teenage girl materialises over the course of the movie, most of which only included to provide shock value and show how far this once good girl had fallen: drugs, drinking, smoking, stealing, experimenting boys then guys then both at the same time, self-harm, Thirteen has it all and none of it produces the shock-factor the makers clearly desired.
Tracey’s (Wood) “white-trash” home life is also an absolute cliche. I can’t help but feel that her descent from uncool to a troubled child would have been more impactful if she wasn’t already in a broken home living on the breadline, but in a middle-class family where things are a lot more comfortable. The movie would have also worked better if it focussed on two of the aforementioned issues gradually getting worse and more serious rather than every scene showing Tracy doing something different without fully explaining why she is on this path.
Designed to be uncomfortable. Thirteen isn’t an enjoyable movie to watch and while it succeeds in that regard, the weak plot and the fact that none of the characters is likeable keep the entertainment value to a minimum and worst of all, the filming style feels extremely cheap and dated.