Thirteen movie review - Aussieboyreviews


This teen drama with extremely heavy themes is definitely too distressing for young teens, and even some adults. This is a very intense movie and is unlike many other teen/coming-of-age tales.


13-year-old Tracy is lead to discover a lifestyle of drugs, sexuality and theft by her troubled new best friend, Evie. As she becomes closer to Evie, her relationship with her mother begins to tear apart.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Holly Hunter, Nikki Reed, Brady Corbet, Vanessa Hudgens, Jeremy Sisto
Writer: Catherine Hardwicke, Nikki Reed
Release Date (Australia): 11 March 2004
Runtime: 100 minutes/1h 40m
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Language: English

CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)

Themes (R18+)

The film features high impact themes of peer pressure, depictions of self-harm and teenage substance and alcohol abuse.

Violence (M)

The film contains depictions of a teenager cutting her wrists and scenes in which two teenagers under the influence of drugs hit each other in the face.

Coarse Language (MA15+)

The film features use of the words “f**k”, “s**t”, “bitch”, “slut” and “whore”, in addition to a singular use of “c**t”.

Drug Use (MA15+)

The film features graphic depictions of teenagers using and snorting drugs, smoking marijuana and implicitly taking LSD and being under the influence of the drug. The film also features several drug references.

Nudity (M)

The film contains female breasts and brief frontal nudity.

Sex (M)

The film contains sexual activity between teenagers and frequent sexual references.

mpaa rating

R (for drug use, self destructive violence, language and sexuality – all involving young teens)

Aussie boy's thoughts

Hardwicke’s and Reed’s mature teen drama, constructed from Reed’s experience, is developed as an adolescent character analysis that ends up being highly distressing, poignantly gritty, extremely unpleasant and unbelievably intense. Thirteen admittedly looks exactly like your average teen/coming-of-age story to deal and send a message about drugs, theft, sex and peer pressure during adolescence, but surprisingly, it’s not.

The story centres on the average 13-year-old girl who isn’t too matured until she is lead to the “cool-girl” lifestyle involving lots of mature subject matter for the movie by her new friend who identifies as the hottest and coolest girl at her school. This is an adolescent story of teenage peer pressure with lots of explicit language, drug and alcohol use, sexual references and grown-up teenage content that floods most teen movies, either dramas or comedies.

However, viewers should definitely keep in mind the fact that the themes in Thirteen shift more towards the heavy drama side, consisting of extremely gritty topics that will even have a powerful impact on mature audiences and adults. The ending certainly marks as the most traumatic experience out of the film, because unlike so many other teen movies, there’s absolutely no answers and while it doesn’t exactly leave off on an irritating cliffhanger, the conflict is never properly resolved. Thirteen will leave you with an unbelievable amount of unanswered questions and thoughts.

Throughout this movie, you can clearly tell that there were no tripods used for the camera and most of it was just recorded by hand. Some will probably see this as a little nauseating, but it perfectly suits the movie’s visual tone and somehow manages to increase the intensity of the subject matter, notably at the end. The teenage and adult actresses are also mind-blowing in this movie. Their performances are shockingly lifelike and only few casts can achieve this effect. There is no single cast member who wasn’t outstanding in this movie, even in the little roles that come and go.

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