Thirteen - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Thirteen Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 10, 2007
How is this ugly, depressing pile entertainment?
Super Reviewer
½ August 4, 2013
Thirteen is a decent teen drama concerning two troubled teens that started off well enough, but decided to take the rebellious route. I enjoyed the film somewhat, but I was pretty disturbed too. The performances from the two lead actresses were what made this film much better than what it turned out to be. This for me is not a film that warrants multiple viewings, as the troubled teen format is not something that really interests me. I've seen many teens act this way when I was in High School, all those years ago, and it just infuriates me seeing this. The story is interesting, but it does lack in some areas and it could have been done much better too. The film flawed, and it is hard to really enjoy because it's a dark film after all, one that showcases the rebellious behavior of teenagers and it's not something that is pleasant to watch. The film, like I said is a decent affair, but it never becomes anything more than what it should have been. This should have been an accomplished drama, but in the end it's just a so-so movie that feels like it's trying way too hard at being a work that portrays the darkest side of teenage angst. I really didn't like the characters, and found them to be primadona's and it just was a film that was quite depressing. Well acted with a decent story, Thirteen could have been a far better film as well. I really wanted to enjoy the film, but it's one of those films that just leaves a lot to be desired.
Jack Hawkins
Super Reviewer
½ October 16, 2012
This film evokes a veritable plethora of negative emotion; I hated almost everything that occurred, but I didn't hate the film. This film explores the anguish caused by the immaturity of adolescence: the competition, the bullying, the need for conformity. Its characters are like those found in Larry Clark films, however 'Thirteen' has none of the sleazy, gratuitous perversion that Clark relishes. This film explores all the vices, it depicts the worst of impressionable adolescence, but the camera never lingers luridly.

The story is familiar, one that everyone can relate to. It's about Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), a painfully impressionable teen who desperately wants to fit in with the 'cool' crowd, who ironically are anything but. The 'cool' kids are repugnantly crass - truly revolting people. Tracy unfortunately thinks otherwise, becoming best friends with the utterly amoral prize bitch Evie (Nikki Reed). Her influence upon Tracy is immediate, and their activities together soon escalate; Tracy quickly becomes a scheming, stupid and cruel little bitch, too. Her descent is exasperating to watch, partly through how powerless Tracy's suffering mother (Holly Hunter) is.

The performances are remarkably natural, they really are. It will never age in this respect, peak realism is shown here. Hunter and Wood have scenes of intense emotion, the kind of emotion so desperately strong that it transcends everything. The excitable exchanges between Wood and Reed are also commendable for their credibility. The film could be a real eye-opener to teens that are experiencing similar situations. The film would show them that Tracy isn't cool or radical; she's just another kid in the midst of a predictable, cringe-worthy cycle that has been experienced by millions from all generations.

'Thirteen' will have you wanting to commit acts of extreme violence. If you can restrain your temperament throughout the many scenes of vast obnoxiousness, gross injustice and scores of vulgar, idiotic characters - I salute you. All of this, however, is testament to the power of the film. It's an unpleasant watch, but the provocation it causes is interesting, I've written this review faster than usual!
Super Reviewer
October 5, 2011
OMG. Teenagers. Seriously. (Really well done. Scary.)
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2011
Weird and crazy but at the same time it's exactly what happens at 13 when you're slowly starting to turn into a young woman. I remember watching this at 13 and it really got me thinking.
Super Reviewer
½ September 2, 2009
Well let's admit it ,they should had named it sixteen or seventeen OR the actresses had to look younger ,otherwise they underestimate our perception .In the other hand I don't know why but by my point of view it had to be some kind of cruel but it wasn't at all .Also I don't like watching trailers,that's a personal choise(the reason why is what already happened in the past specifically with this flickr at the present ),I realized I had watched the whole movie and there was nothing left not seen at the ACTUAL movie .Finally I have to admit that Evan Rachel Wood was really good at her part even though she didn't look as thirteen year old and Catherine Hardwicke shows us that color blue it's her favourite (it's the second time I watched a movie directed by her ,first time was Twillight and she used it there too!)
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2006
A Teen movie with a difference, peer pressure and the desire to be popular is demonstrated to great effect in this story and is a tale aimed at all, not just teens or parents, even more interesting was the ability to relate to the teen characters dispite the age gap I hold.

This was quite naturally acted and the escalation of events were told well, holding up a mirror to teens of any era.
Super Reviewer
½ August 28, 2008
A gut wrenching and emotionally alive film with superb acting. Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed completely inhabit these roles and make me believe they are actually these drug infused sex machines who go off the deep end at age 13. Of course I now know that Evan Rachel Wood is a fine actress seeing as this was quite a while ago, but if I didn't know I would expect it. Haven't seen much else of Nikki Reed except her role in Twilight, which is minimal, but she has the makings of a good actress/screenwriter with her debut here. Holly Hunter went on to get an Oscar nomination for her role, and it was well deserved. It surprises me that Catherine Hardwicke went on to make Twilight after watching this and seeing how in your face and realistic this movie is compared to that. This movie absolutely gets what being a teenager is like. Twilight did not. Some people won't like this movie because it does go quite far compared to candy coating everything, but that is precisely why I like it.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2010
Shocking and realistic, Evan Rachel Wood delves into another dramatic role, playing the innocent character turned inside out. Great performance by Holly Hunter as the concerned mother.
Super Reviewer
½ July 11, 2010
It total showed what teens are up to these days. not the best teen film i have seen.
Super Reviewer
February 15, 2008
Jeez this movie opened my eyes to how bad teenagers could be. I'm 16 years old right now & I never did any of the things that Evie & Tracy did at 13. When I have kids they will never behave that way. Every parent & teenager should see this movie.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2010
I liked the narrative of this and the way it was filmed. It flowed really really well and had some truth to it although I do think it was highly dramatised. Some parts were quite confusing and the character Tracy was really annoying. The performances were amazing.
Super Reviewer
½ May 24, 2009
Fabulous well done and acted!
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2007
So real...I love it!
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2006
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke.
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Nikki Reed, Holly Hunter.

<< "I love you and your brother more than anything in the world. I would die for you, but I won't leave you alone right now." >>

The story follows an A-grade, 13 year old student who, after getting befriended by the newly popular girl in school, she changes herself physically to get noticed and soon spirals and changes into something else that ultimately affects her and those around her.

Catherine Hardwicke really hits you where it hurts here. Sure, the bleak-doco style is nothing original these days in such a film, but Thirteen is made all the more powerful and unexpectedly emotional thanks to Catherine's great skill to control the emotions and channel each of her characters so well and really stick them center stage...and the brilliant handheld work (surprising when I thought it was steadicam) and bleak, bleached-out cinematography which is amazingly shot, really works well alongside it all.

What really shocked me was the fact that star Nikki Reed, aged 15 at the time I might add, co-wrote the script for this film and loosely based it on a real-life experience. The script is grounded so far into realism that some might find it too much to take. The characters are brilliantly defined and given enough heart to make us care for them every step of the way, which only adds more to the raw emotion the script throws at us...and thank god it never sinks into soapy-pop culture trends and views.

The performances are truly outstanding. Holly Hunter is mind-blowing as the single mother trying to support her family. Her impressive balance between the characters caring notions for her children and her blinded ways of the things around her is simply amazing to watch and when things kick into an emotional gear, her performance gets even more powerful. Everyone seems to automatically point to Holly Hunter as the great performance of the film, but really it belongs to Evan Rachel Wood. For someone with such mediocrity in acting at the time, she takes big steps up and rips through her troubled character with such raw power and understanding and its easy to say that if she keeps this up, she will go far, a truly powerful performance.

Thirteen is simply a shockingly and unexpectedly powerful film. A brutally realistic, if slightly exaggerated portrayal of a torn family and the unfortunate reality of teenage life. Brilliantly directed with a familiar style handled so well, powerfully acted and astonishingly written...and with help from the 15 year old co-star Nikki Reed (co-writer), it makes it all the more realistic. It may be a great thing at first to know your kids 'grow up so fast', but think twice. Highly recommended.


<< "If everybody married someone from a different race then in one generation there would be no prejudice." >>
Super Reviewer
½ July 24, 2008
Didn't live up to the hype. The character arc is way too much too fast, especially since at the end, we know Tracy is still essentially a "good girl." This wasn't the "overnight" transformation the filmmakers were going for, more like a three-hour one. There was no indication at all that Tracy wanted to be popular. One mean comment about her socks tips her over the edge? Also if she really blames her mom for the seedy boyfriend and trouble with Dad, we should have seen more of that at the beginning. If the change was indeed so quick, it was just a ploy for attention but Tracy never lacked it in the first place. Then we see Evie lying and betraying Tracy in the end. She should have been lying the whole time or else the audience feels sympathy for the poor abused hot girl. The movie uses this liminal age to make an incendiary cautionary tale of sorts, but loses out on character development. I'm still not entirely hooked on ERW.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2008
Harrowing portrait of teenage life that's a nightmare for any parent with a daughter entering adolescence.
Super Reviewer
May 23, 2008
Compared to professional screenplays, this work still stands as well done though it is the first work of a teenager. Sometimes it is a bit melodramatic, but that is mostly in the acting, which though effective at some times, registers as overdone.

The cinematography at times achieves a pure form of cinema verite rarely seen in modern American dramas. Some people dislike this movie, and claim it is the content, but I believe it is this realistic filming style which is too intense for select viewers.

I highly recommend this movie for its overall quality, but especially because it imprinted several shot sequences into my "instant-access" film memory, the mental rolodex you scroll through your head when you're trying to set up a shot of your own.
Super Reviewer
May 17, 2008
Kinda scary thinking about how old these kids are in this movie. Proves how corrupt the world really is...and all about 'too much', 'too loud', 'too fast'.
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2007
Sort of ridiculous, but it was alright.
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