Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Movie: "Thirteen"

I didn't see Gigli this year. Nor did I see From Justin to Kelly, or Marci X, or Jeepers Creepers 2. I tend to avoid spending money on films I don't have faith in.

With that disclaimer, I can safely say that Thirteen is the worst film I've seen in a theater all year. The fact that Sundance gave this film an award for directing says a lot about Sundance's ability to look past a film's content in order to see the technique behind it. But as for me, I found the story abhorrent, and worse, absolutely and utterly boring.

The protagonist is a thirteen-year old girl who is a good student with good friends, but who wants to hang with the popular (read: slutty) girls. When she gets her foot in the door with them, she starts emulating the most popular girl's behavior. She starts dressing slutty, she shoplifts and steals, she gets piercings without permission, she lies like crazy to her mom, she neglects school, and she starts doing all manner of drugs. She becomes best friends with the popular girl, and throws away her old life.

I literally looked at my watch every five minutes during this 100-minute film. Sometimes more. It was the longest 100 minutes of my life, or at least since I was bedridden with an illness a few years back. After the protagonist stole a woman's wallet in the first 15 minutes or so, I found myself waiting for her to get her comeuppance. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting...

But her uppance never came. Only in the final minutes of the film did she suffer any real fallout from her behavior, and that was just in being told that she'd have to repeat a grade in school, plus a fight followed by a good cry and hug with her mom. All that stealing? No repurcussions. I got the notion at the end that I was supposed to feel some sort of pity or empathy for the girl, but I felt nothing. Actually, that's not true. I felt that she wasn't being punished enough for her activities throughout the film. Pity? No, I felt she got what she deserved, and probably not enough of it.

My review in one word? Avoid.


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