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Thirteen This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     "Thirteen" was advertised as inherently real and thought provoking, deeply moving and disturbing to parents of adolescents. Its opening scene does not disappoint, as it shows two Los Angeles teens, Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed) inhaling mind-altering substances and beating each other bloody in a maniacal state of glee.

The film then backtracks to a time not long before when Tracy was an insecure, slightly awkward, good student and gifted writer. Living with her single mother Melanie (Holly Hunter) and sympathetic older brother Mason (Brady Corbet), Tracy begins seventh grade itching to be popular. This may sound like a typical teen movie so far, but "Thirteen" is far from candy-coated. It is gritty, real and shot in a strikingly effective hand-held camera documentary style technique.

"Evie grew up this summer," a hormone-rich male teen remarks the first day of school. And growing up, or more importantly up-bringing, appears to be central. Evie epitomizes everything Tracy is not, and simultaneously everything she wants to be: sought after, mature, confident and beautiful.

Tracy's up-bringing has left her a vulnerable, impressionable 13-year-old while Evie is a classic predator, who comes across as likeable despite routinely stealing money, clothing and taking advantage of Melanie as a guaranteed meal ticket. Reed's work as Evie is energetic, devious and, above all, believable. Reed was 14 when she made this movie and even co-wrote the script.

The story follows Tracy as she is befriended by Evie on their mutual path through drugs, sex and petty theft. While apparently happy, Tracy is engaged in self-mutilation, with scenes that are not for the squeamish.

Holly Hunter makes Melanie intriguing and very whole as the single-parent struggling to make ends meet, while attempting to parent and befriend her daughter. On top of all that, she's dating a recovering crack addict (Kip Pardue).

Tracy's parents are divorced and her father, Travis ( D.W. Moffet) has a larger role in his looming absence, and its effect on her than he does in the few scenes he appears in.

"Thirteen" takes the almost traditional, clear-cut genre of teen movies and gets it to sniff glue and beats it into a disturbingly real, refreshingly unique film.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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shapeshifter56 said...
Sept. 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm
Wonderful review! I really want to see this movie, but I haven't had the chance to yet! Anyways, your review was extremely well-written, and I thought it gave a good feel of what the movie is about without giving anything away :) Keep up the great work!
 
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