Every parent’s worst nightmare. That’s the short synopsis of former production designer Hardwicke’s directorial début, which earned her the Best Director award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. The film was co-written with co-star Nikki Reed, a 13-year-old friend of the family, and loosely based on her life. At a Los Angeles middle school Tracy (Wood) is ecstatic when she becomes friends with the most popular girl, Evie (Reed) who initiates her into a life of shoplifting, piercing, casual sex and drugs. Tracy’s struggling single mum (Hunter, excellent) can’t believe nor prevent what’s happening to her daughter. Besides, she has her own problems, including her boyfriend (Sisto – bad bruv Billy of Six Feet Under). Shot in a realistic, handheld style on a low budget, THIRTEEN boasts a compelling, raw vitality in its savvy script and performances, skating the fine line between drama and exploitation.
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke