I finally just saw this film last night, and just thought I'd toss out that I think it's very much worth seeing by both parents and teens, however unpleasant some may find it.
It really was an incredible movie, and one of the best representations I've seen of "average" teens in crisis (however unaverage the lengths to which the main characters went was), ever, in terms of the emotional depictions and tone.
I saw this movie two days ago. I wouldn't say it was as eye-opening or important as 'Kids' but found the situations in the movie incredibly distressing and probable. I'm glad the marketing of this movie consisted of letting people know that Nikki Reed wrote most of the script from true-life experiences so the film wouldn't be confused for a piece of sensationalism. I recommend it.
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I've been meaning to watch this movie, so I rented it last night. It was pretty disturbing, and while you sympathize with the lead character Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), you can't help but want to wring her neck for being such a sheep.
In contrast to the movie 'Kids', 'thirteen' was able to make its point without being as gratuitously explicit. Granted, the movie was pretty explicit, but I think the filmmakers had to hold back on a few scenes because the actors were under 18.
I think the scariest thing about the movie 'thirteen' was that it portrayed the "bad kids" exactly as I remembered them from when I was 13 (ten years ago). Everything from the random shoving in the hallways, cursing, etc. The only differences were there were no cell phones during my junior high years, and there weren't any black kids at my school.
The way they portrayed the parent figures in the movie was interesting, too. There seems to be an archetype of kids going bad because the parents aren't there, but you see Holly Hunter's character doing everything she can to figure out what's wrong with her daughter. She's not the perfect mom, either, but she's trying.
Great character development. Evie (Nikki Reed) isn't a one-dimensional villain. In various scenes through the movie, you see her break down in sensitive moments. The mom's boyfriend character is known to be a former drug addict, but he's played as a pretty level-headed, calm person trying to help out, even if Tracy hates him.
Anyway, rent it, watch it once alone, then watch it with your parents.
------------------ "Young lady, in this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" Homer Simpson
(Slighty OT: my only problem with Kids was the gratuitously explicit stuff. Was I not very familiar with all of Larry Clark's films, I might be able to suspend that issue since it *might* have been pertinent in some parts of the film. But since I am, and have been too squicked one too many times by his feeling the need, in every film, even when it has nothing to do with anything, to have as much gratuitous naked teenage girl as possible for what just appears to be his own enjoyment, it made that film lose something for me. Unfortunate, since it is an important movie with a lot of value.)
I did also like the adult portrayals in thirteen myself, Susie. Really nice combination of flaws and virtues -- really, with all the characters all around. No good guys/bad guys, essentially, just people with varying issues, baggage, and conflicts.
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