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THIRTEEN

The relationship between a hard-luck beautician (Holly Hunter) and her nerdy daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) is dealt a severe blow when the seventh grader is taught a new way of life by a ruthless, sexually promiscuous classmate.

CAST: Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood, Nikki Reed, Jeremy Sisto, Brady Corbett, Deborah Kara Unger, Kip Pardue, Sarah Clarke, D.W. Moffett, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Jenika Carey

DIRECTOR: Catherine Hardwicke

"‘Thirteen’ is the most powerful of all recent wayward-youth sagas; indeed, it's tough to recall the last such drama that packed as much emotional clout… though the script feels assured and Hardwicke's visual style is provocative, this is an actor's show: Holly Hunter; Nikki Reed, who was 13 when she wrote the screenplay; and Evan Rachel Wood of TV's ‘Once and Again,’ who gives a lead performance worthy of an Oscar nomination … ‘Thirteen,’ from Fox Searchlight, is the latest screen achievement from a smaller studio to prove that the major studios and worthwhile movies are virtually mutually exclusive until late in the year." --Mike Clark, USA Today

"It's shocking, yes, but skirts charges of sensationalism by employing a sincere and empathetic tone --largely due to the fact that the semi-autobiographical script was co-written by then-13-year-old Nikki Reed…Reed also makes a startling acting debut as Evie, a sassy, promiscuous, multi-pierced seventh-grader who applies her makeup with a trowel…Hunter and Reed are excellent, but it's the scarily talented 15-year-old Wood whose scorching, star-making performance drives ‘Thirteen.’ She is by turns preening, confused, hysterical and achingly young - and she takes us down with her as she self-destructs slowly…Despite its shock value, "Thirteen" rises above dysfunctional-family-drama cliches, thanks to the truthfulness of its script and the keen eye of a sympathetic director. --Megan Lehmann, The New York Post

"Every parent's nightmare about how girls go wrong is packed into this movie and onto Hunter's frazzled face as she watches her daughter deteriorate. The whole thing would stink of phony moralizing if Catherine Hardwicke, who won the directing prize at Sundance 2003, didn't pack it with such raw vitality. Reed is strikingly good as Evie… But the revelation is Wood, 15, formerly of TV's Once and Again, who makes Tracy's transformation harrowing and haunting." --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"There’s lots of finger-pointing in ‘Thirteen,’ but the film itself is not that far away from what it’s attacking. In the manner of such voyeuristic Larry Clark movies as ‘Kids,’ it’s both socially conscious and sensationalistic—a scold in tight, midriff-baring tee and spiked heels…It is to the credit of Holly Hunter that, in her scenes with Wood, she brings out the frustrations of a mother who is trying to be both a friend and a role model and succeeding at neither…‘Thirteen’ doesn’t really offer much more insight into exasperated mother-daughter relationships or twisted teens than, say, ‘Freaky Friday,’ which I much prefer. At least that film was funny and didn’t try to fob itself off as a bulletin from the front lines." --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"The panic in the eyes of Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), the barely teenage protagonist of ‘Thirteen,’ will stay with you for a very long time. Both her fear and pleasure — since they are inextricably entwined — are almost always visible, especially in a harrowing scene about loss of control that is a pinnacle of performance…Ms. Wood's performance bounces with mood swings from anxiety to exhilaration in a movie with moments so realistically painted that your eyes will sting from the fumes. Ms. Hardwicke's directing approach echoes the chemical surges of its little-girl star, bounding and lunging as if it were in the back seat of a car hurtling down bumpy roads without a seat belt." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"‘Thirteen’ has a way of smashing through your defenses. Hardwicke has goosed up the old melodramatic formula with a neorealist syntax and up-to-the-minute cultural nuances and violence…The movie's target, of course, is parents, who are either unwilling or unable to keep their kids from succumbing to the relentless temptations of the culture…Holly Hunter is breathtaking in this movie: When she stares at her daughter beseechingly, she turns helplessness into something volcanically active." --David Edelstein, Slate

"The girls in ‘Thirteen’ are nothing like Lizzie McGuire. For one thing, they're interesting. For another, they're every parent's heart attack…this immersive study of no-longer-girls-gone-wild strip-mines every alarmist notion in pop psych books about modern teens. But thanks to a brilliantly convincing cast, headlined by Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood's mother-daughter Apache dance act, even the busiest dysfunction pile-ons maintain a clear core of behavioral truth…Hunter accesses a mother's angst as devastatingly as any screen actress ever has…Matching Hunter's magnificent performance shout for shout and tear for tear, young Wood rises to that rarefied stratum of child actors who can make chilling, lasting impressions." --Bob Strauss, L.A. Daily News