Film / Thirteen

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Thirteen is a 2003 drama film directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who cowrote the screenplay with then-fifteen-year-old Nikki Reed. The movie is intended to be partially autobiographical, as it shows what much of what Reed's life was like between the ages of twelve and thirteen. The movie deals with the experience of girls just barely out of their pre-teens and getting into situations that would be better handled by adults.

The plot revolves around Tracy Freeland (Evan Rachel Wood) struggling as an adolescent trying to become popular, then becoming popular only to find out that the cost to stay there in morality and self-worth to be too high. Reed co-stars as Evie, Tracy's Toxic Friend Influence.

The film was produced independently and only picked up by Working Title Films after production had finished. Holly Hunter, playing Tracy's mother Melanie, received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her her supporting role. Evan Rachel Wood also received a Golden Globe nomination.

Not to be confused with Thirteen: The Musical.


This film provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Evie claims to have them, and it would make a lot of sense.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted, but only at the very end: Tracy's mom essentially rescues her from Evie's influence, but until then played horrifyingly straight. Throughout the whole movie, Mel rarely disciplines her.
  • The Alcoholic : Mel is in recovery.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Subverted - Tracy and Evie try to seduce Tracy's neighbor Luke, but he's understandably freaked out by the idea of sex with two thirteen-year-old girls, and kicks them out of his house.
  • Author Avatar: The story is auto-biographical and the character of Tracy is modeled after co-author Nikki Reed, who is actually playing her own bad influence.
  • Broken Bird: Evie definitely, also Tracy could be seen as one.
  • Consummate Liar: Evie.
  • Country Matters: Used by Brooke against Tracy at the end of the film.
  • Disappeared Dad: Tracy and Mason's father, who is divorced from their mother, is an infrequent occurrence in both of his children's lives and is not very invested in whatever is happening when he is around.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Using a gas duster to get high, it doesn't sound sexy and they show you just how not sexy it is. note 
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Tracy has this reaction towards the end of the movie once realizing that Evie sold her out on her dangerous activities and the "hiding places" of all her drugs and stolen money.
  • Fille Fatale: Evie is very good at knowing what boys/men want.
  • Fish out of Water: When Tracy first meets up with Evie and her friends she is a very good example of this.
  • Freudian Excuse: Evie was sexually and physically abused by her Uncle as a child. He only ended up doing seven years for his crimes.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: "Tracy Louise Freeland! Conference time! Now!"
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: That's how Evie feels about it.
  • Grew a Spine: Mel, who finally stands up to her wayward daughter midway through the film.
  • Hidden Depths: Tracy displays this at the beginning of the movie, as she gets good grades and is even quite accomplished at poetry.
  • High School Hustler: Evie.
  • Hypocrite: At the climax, Evie yells at Mel that she would not want to live in her house and claims that it stinks. This was after she had been a frequent (and eventual unwelcome) guest at their home and trying to manipulate her and Tracy into letting her move in with them. Plus, even if it was run-down, it was still in a much nicer neighborhood than Brooke's home, which was barely maintained and didn't even have a backyard.
    • Mason, Tracy's older brother, was disgusted by their Dad and the lack of interest he had in Tracy's problems, but still accepted a wetsuit from him. When she asked where he got it, his response was "Fuck you."
  • In with the In Crowd: After she "befriends" Evie, Tracy ends up this.
  • Karma Houdini: Whereas Tracy ends up left behind in school, losing her real friends and with a bad reputation, Evie, who influenced her into becoming one of her "friends", gets to start over scot-free with her Aunt in Ojai.
  • Light Is Not Good: Deconstructed throughout the film. As the situation with Tracy becomes more bleak and troubling, the colors of the film itself become more faded and pale, as opposed to the more vibrant colors used earlier on.
  • Little Miss Badass: Tracy tries to be this towards the girlfriends of the guys that she and Evie were screwing throughout the year once they angrily confronted her. The only reason the potentially dangerous situation did not escalate is because the school guards found them and broke it up. Unfortunately for Tracy, one of the girls threatened that it wasn't over.
  • Mama Bear: Melanie Freeland protecting her daughter Tracy from Evie and her cousin.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Evie.
  • Missing Mom: Evie and Melanie.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The most common interpretion of Tracy's sky-high scream at the end.
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Tracy.
  • No Ending: Though it's implied that Tracy got better (she's wearing normal clothes and overall has a more "healthier" appearance).
  • Parental Substitute: Mel's boyfriend, Brady, is this to the two teens, even though Tracy has little respect for him due to his past drug use and the fact that he's not her father.
  • Poisonous Friend / Toxic Friend Influence: Evie, of course.
    • Tracy ended up with this reputation at the end of the film. At one point, she waves at one of her original friend's mother, who in response turned her back on her and walked away (granted, this was after she witnessed her cursing out her mother in an earlier scene.)
  • Pretty Freeloaders: Played with in regards to Birdie, Mel's recovering addict friend, and her young daughter. They weren't germane to the plot and spend much of the film in the way. Even Evie lampshades this when trying to convince Mel to let her move in, saying that Brooke would pay her "unlike the other freeloaders".
  • Really Gets Around: No kidding.
  • The Scream: By Tracy at the end.
  • Self-Harm: Tracy deals with her stress by cutting her arms with a razor.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Evie seems to imply this to Tracy.
  • Smoking Is Cool & Smoking Is Glamorous
  • Teens Are Monsters: Thievery, smoking, drinking, promiscuity, truancy, and, oh yeah, bullying. What's not to love?
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Boy howdy...
  • The Unfair Sex: Inverted with Tracy and Mason; she gets in trouble for her drug usage and promiscuity, he also uses drugs, but it's okay since it's only weed and since their mother knows about it.
  • Where Da White Women At?: Evie and Tracy's relationship with the black boys in the film. But mostly Evie.
  • Younger Than They Look: Tracy and Evie are 13, but look like they are at least 16.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Thirteen