Thirteen is the story of Tracy who is your average teenage school girl who has her little circle of friends but not much else. She does not like her mother’s boyfriend but she keeps a lot of her displeasure to herself. After a while Tracy decides that what she wants is to be popular in school and soon she begins to seek out the friendship of the new, but popular, girl in school Evie. After much debate Evie and Tracy become friends and it is not long before Evie has Tracy deeply involved in a sinister underworld that includes underaged sex, drugs, alcohol, and crime. Tracy finds herself stealing and performing other petty crimes along with taking all manner of illegal drugs and even finding ways to get high with things like compressed air cans and other household items. She begins to draw the attention of her mother when she starts coming home with piercings all over her body and her mother, and their whole family, start to voice their concerns at the changes Tracy is going through. Tracy rebels, of course, and her self-destructive path with Evie continues and Tracy begins to rebel against everything and soon she loses complete control of her life. The family is forced to try an intervention to save her and they can only hope that they are not too late.
Thirteen was made on the tightest of budgets and was filmed in an actual house, not on a sound stage, and filmed mostly with hand held digital cameras. The budget was so tight that some of the cars used in the movie had to be pushed by the crew because they would not run. Nikki Reed and some of the other actors were constantly nursing small injuries on the set because there were no stunt people and there really was not much of a budget to do things the safe way. When you cannot do things the safe way then someone is bound to get hurt. In the end the hard work and sacrifice was worth it as Thirteen made a profit at the box office and helped to give a jump to the careers of Nikki Reed, Holly Hunter, and Evan Rachel Wood. As was mentioned before Hunter was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the movie and Nikki Reed has more new releases on the way. Evan Rachel Wood is in negotiations for several productions and her involvement in others is rumored.
Through it all Thirteen doesn’t so much teach a lesson as it tells a familiar story. At some point many of us know someone that goes through what Tracy goes through and can identify with her need to be accepted by the popular crowd. This is the type of teen movie that many teens should see and many may be able to identify with.