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Thirteen

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A gut-wrenching portrait of adolescence, Thirteen is made all the more powerful because it was co-written by a genuine teenage girl, Nikki Reed, who also co-stars in the movie. Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), a serious good student, finds herself needing to express her anger and resentment at her fractured family life. To rebel, she pursues a friendship with the reckless, alluring Evie (Reed), who seems to have all the cocksure freedom that Tracy desires. What follows is both harrowing and compelling: Tracy becomes enmeshed in a relationship with Evie that empowers Tracy and drags her deeper into the misery she wants to escape--and terrifies her mother (Holly Hunter), who struggles desperately to hold on to her daughter's love. Thirteen makes every step on this path utterly convincing, due to the vivid script, energized direction, and astonishingly alive performances from Hunter, Reed, and especially Wood. Jolting, sad, and mesmerizing. --Bret Fetzer

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