“Thirteen,” premiering in Geneva at the Smith Opera House this weekend, is director Catherine Hardwicke's explosive cinematic portrait of teenage girls at their very worst. Mean, manipulative, conniving, and utterly out of control, these skinny, sexy, drug-addicted, 13-year-old time bombs are nothing short of terrifying. Hardwicke's movie is brilliant in its ability to portray this phenomenon, which comes off as very real.
The skillful photography from cinematographer Elliot Davis communicates the most complicated themes of the film: insecurity, confusion, wanting to be liked and accepted, and feeling like it's time to grow up fast.
Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) is just a simple Valley girl with a dream of being cool. She lives with her single mom (Holly Hunter), an at-home hairdresser, and wastes her time studying for seventh grade until she meets motherless Evie (Nikki Reed), also thirteen, who defines cool for Tracy. That means hoochie tops, body piercings, shoplifting, drugs, bad boys, oral sex, lap dances and a three-way that Evie tries to negotiate with Tracy and a 20ish hunk (Kip Pardue). 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 digitally shot movie, which Hardwicke wrote with the then-13-year-old Reed, may not come up with profound solutions. But it redounds with a firsthand authoritativeness. Reed (who drew on events in her real life) and Hardwicke (who got to know Reed when she was dating Reed's father) have turned their mutual experiences into a textured — if often disturbing — drama. Hardwicke won the directing prize at Sundance 2003.
“Thirteen,” will be screened at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 22-24, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 25. It has a running time of one hour, 40 minutes. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. All seats on Thursday are $5. Call 315-781-5483 or toll-free 866-355-5483 for details or to pre-order tickets.
The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.