From a first-time director and two teenage actresses comes a raw and revealing insight into urban adolescence in 2003, a provocative portrait of what teens today are thinking, doing, feeling and going through. Winner of the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Catherine Hardwicke’s THIRTEEN is a unique project co-written with then-13-year-old Nikki Reed who lived many of the events seen on screen. Together, they forged a fast-and-furious, unblinking picture of the cliques and clashes, hidden dangers and secret rituals, dashed hopes and unrelenting dreams of two American girls looking to make their way in a new world for which few maps exist.
What does it mean to be thirteen right now? It has always been the age when establishing identity, individuality and a sense of one’s importance in the world become the imperative. But in today’s America, the pressures on 13-year-old girls – media-fueled expectations to be sexy, gorgeous, cool and in control – have never been greater. Low-rider jeans, body piercing and petty crimes have become the outward symbols of a generation that is desperately trying to find its own spirit.
Hardwicke explores this territory with honesty, clarity and passion in THIRTEEN, using a hyper-kinetic camera to capture both the unhinged joy and high angst of hitting modern adolescence full force. The story follows the transformation of Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), who begins as a promising, pig-tailed student still playing with teddy bears and Barbie dolls. But when Tracy enters the hyper-sexualized peer-pressure cooker of junior high, she witnesses the power and hipness of Evie Zamora (Nikki Reed, co-writer of the script), who has become widely known as “the hottest chick in school.” Ultra-popular, model-gorgeous and bewitchingly snobby, Evie represents everything Tracy suddenly wants, and needs, to be.
At first Tracy has no hope of being accepted into Evie’s elite clique. She’s got the wrong attitude, the wrong friends, definitely the wrong look. But Tracy learns to remake herself, step by step, into the ultimate ideal of a 2003 teen. She discovers how to do the makeup, the clothes, the hair, the act.