Critics Consensus

An emotionally wrenching, not to mention terrifying, film about the perils of being a teenager.



Total Count: 153


Audience Score

User Ratings: 214,513
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Movie Info

At the edge of adolescence, Tracy is a smart straight-A student--if not a little naive. When she befriends Evie, the most popular and beautiful girl in school, Evie leads Tracy down a path of sex, drugs and self-mutilation. As Tracy transforms herself and her identity, her world becomes a boiling, emotional cauldron fueled by new tensions between her and her mother--as well as, teachers and old friends.

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Critic Reviews for Thirteen

All Critics (153) | Top Critics (41)

  • It is here that the performances pay emotional dividends. The sight of Hunter kissing her daughter's self-inflicted scars as if trying to kiss away the psychological pain that raised them will haunt me for some time.

    Jan 10, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Hardwicke shows great instincts, using a frenetic documentary style to hammer home the brutal realities of modern teenage life, but rooting it in an unusually sensitive portrait of mother and daughter.

    Nov 25, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Hunter and Reed are excellent, but it's the scarily talented 15-year-old Wood whose scorching, star-making performance drives Thirteen.

    Sep 25, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • It's a Kids for a new generation of the too-young -to-be-this -messed up.

    Sep 19, 2003 | Rating: 5/5
  • Although it borders on exploitation in several places, Thirteen packs an emotional wallop.

    Sep 12, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • It's a pretentious piece of Valley Girl vileness masquerading as social commentary.

    Sep 11, 2003 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Thirteen

  • Aug 04, 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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Mar 18, 2013
    Boosted by fantastic performances by the three leads, Thirteen asks and shows some poignant aspects about the troublesome teen years and how easily a downfall can be. It uses predictable gimmicks on the script but they work on the majority of times. It's a movie mostly held back by some rather poor stylistic choices like the use of the cacophony that is the soundtrack, poorly used and distractive from what is going on in screen and the hand held shaky camera and fast shots and editing don't help it much either (which is surprising that they used this, since some of the best scenes were made in a single take with no cuts).
    Francisco G Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2013
    A disturbing, although hyperbolic, look at teenage rebellion, Thirteen succeeds in spite of an extremely unlikeable protagonist that is a caricature of a melodramatic teenager. You're not likely to ever meet a teenager quite as cruel and heartless as Evan Rachel Wood's Tracy. Still, as a dark drama that depicts the downward spiraling of a girl in rebellion, Thirteen succeeds in frightening ways.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 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!
    Jack H Super Reviewer

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