Thirteen

Candid look at America's drug-loving teen queens

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OPENS DECEMBER 5, CERT 18, 100 MINS

The story behind this shoestring production is almost as interesting as the film itself. Former production designer Catherine Hardwicke stepped in to help when a friend’s 13-year-old daughter spiralled out of control into drugs, alcohol abuse and self-harm. She suggested that the girl write about her experiences in a screenplay. The result is a jaw-dropping horror-show of teenage girls at their cruellest and most manipulative. Not since Larry Clark’s Kids has anyone dared to show the youth of America in such candid detail. What makes it all the more remarkable is that Nikki Reed, the 13-year-old co-writer of the film, also co-stars alongside Evan Rachel Wood. A sultry, self-contained beauty, she plays the treacherous queen of the in-crowd rather than the autobiographical role, while Wood plays the innocent who plunges into a world of promiscuity and substance abuse. Holly Hunter is the still heart at the centre of the madness as the mother who can no longer reach her child. As good an argument as you’ll see for locking up your daughters.

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