Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The most powerful of all recent wayward-youth sagas; indeed, it's tough to recall the last such drama that packed as much emotional clout.
  2. Reviewed by: Brooke Hauser
    The result is a disturbing look into the so-called Wonder Years of adolescence, with convincing, award-worthy performances from each of its key players: Hunter, Wood, and Reed.
  3. With an authenticity that is tender and merciless, the movie shows you what it looks like when youth rebellion becomes a form of fascism.
  4. Despite the raw gut-punch of its direction, its power lies in compassion, not sensationalism.
  5. It feels like real life unfolding before your eyes.
  6. 90
    This movie is an emotionally coherent work--a burning experience of desperation and fleeting exhilaration. [1 September 2003, p. 130]
  7. 89
    Just plain unforgettable.
  8. 88
    Who is this movie for? Not for most 13-year-olds, that's for sure. The R rating is richly deserved, no matter how much of a lark the poster promises. Maybe the film is simply for those who admire fine, focused acting and writing.
  9. An excellent, unforgettable film.
  10. One of the most honest and harrowing depictions of female adolescence ever put to film.
  11. 88
    Despite its shock value, Thirteen rises above dysfunctional-family-drama cliches, thanks to the truthfulness of its script and the keen eye of a sympathetic director.
  12. Unlike most other teen cautionary tales, Thirteen does not accuse merely one villain for the corruption of a minor.
  13. 88
    A smart movie that does not simplify or candy-coat the rigors of the teenage years.
  14. Despite Hunter's terrific acting, the mom seems too unaware.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Berry
    Hunter is superb as the alcoholic mom trying to keep her life from falling apart, and Wood and Reed are scarily convincing as delinquents.
  16. What could have become a heinous TV movie instead delivers the moving and relatable experience of being an emotionally overburdened person stuck in a world that mostly sucks.
  17. The creation of teen-girl culture seems almost pitch-perfect. The flaw is the flaw of most works of muckraking when they are held to artistic standards: It's a question of proportion.
  18. 75
    Brace yourself for Thirteen -- it'll cause a commotion.
  19. 75
    Sometimes the film feels as if it's trying too hard to include every possible horror a teenager could sample.
  20. Wood is superb at delineating Tracy's slide into desperate incoherence, but equally impressive is Reed, who has to conceal her writer's intelligence in playing a character who's entirely instinctive and unreflective.
  21. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Would it be rude to suggest that your time might be better spent with your own children?
  22. A movie that is often as awkward and as filled with mixed impulses as the age it documents.
  23. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    An engaging, sympathetic portrait of junior high girls who have grown up too fast and way too little. Without being preachy, it's also a cogent, terrifying tale of the lack of supervision many teens face and the utter inability of many parents to not only raise kids but also to direct their own lives.
  24. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    The film is not without its share of awkward moments, but as an insightful critique of "Girl Culture" and the mounting war over the hearts and minds of adolescent girls that's currently being waged in the media, it's mandatory viewing.
  25. Isn't in league with the Nicholas Ray classic ("Rebel Without a Cause"), but in its ferocious energy and lead performances it's many cuts above most big-screen soap operas.
  26. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Thirteen has a way of smashing through your defenses. Hardwicke has goosed up the old melodramatic formula with a neorealist syntax and up-to-the-minute cultural nuances and violence.
  27. They often seem more bent on titillating or harrowing us than on helping us understand the characters.
  28. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Deliberately unvarnished shock piece designed to give pause to anyone with a daughter approaching teenhood.
  29. Walks a fine line between bold indie film, with the attendant in-your-face roughness, and sodden Lifetime Original Movie.
  30. 50
    The movie doesn't complete itself, in the sense of filling in our knowledge of its people (who are more like passengers). It simply comes to a stop.
  31. 50
    If you boil Thirteen down to its flimsy bones, you'll find that it's not really so much about peer pressure in contemporary teen life as it is a story about a classic bad egg. That right there dilutes its highfalutin aspirations.
  32. Thirteen doesn't really offer much more insight into exasperated mother-daughter relationships or twisted teens than, say, "Freaky Friday," which I much prefer. At least that film was funny and didn't try to fob itself off as a bulletin from the front lines.
  33. 50
    More than once, while watching the film, I thought: The camera should really just turn away from those grating teen brats and follow the mom (Holly Hunter).
  34. 50
    Though thirteen too often mistakes hard realism for overheated spectacle, the heightened drama brings out the best in Wood and Hunter, who turn their climactic scene into an actors' workshop, charged with raw emotion. As the film barrels toward the outrageously histrionic, they nearly pull it back from the brink.
  35. 50
    Ms. Wood's performance bounces with mood swings from anxiety to exhilaration in a movie with moments so realistically painted that your eyes will sting from the fumes.
  36. Reviewed by: Jim Agnew
    This isn't a new spin on Bret Easton Ellis, it's more like a 90-minute "Saved By The Bell" episode with better music.
  37. 40
    Catherine Hardwicke's directorial debut is less a damozel-in-distress fetish flick than a bird-flipping plunge into coded girl-cult communication.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 94 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 63
  2. Negative: 8 out of 63
  1. Jun 30, 2013
    Thirteen is absorbing and beautifully disturbing, it is fascinating and scary because it is so real and fresh, it has the first rate direction, and it is an uproarious experience that you will never forget for a long time. Thirteen is easily one of my favorite movies. Full Review »
  2. Jun 20, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This film has a great meaning. It wants to show all the bad things that can happen to a teenager nowadays. Such as get addicted to drugs, have sex when you are thirteen steal. The actors were really good and the film in general was interesting. It is too dramatic in the end as the director wants to show the relationship mother-daughter that even in the wildest moments it is strong Full Review »
  3. Jun 16, 2013
    Well it is a true movie, cause I know people in my life who are the same, but hiding it, no matter what age, corrupted kids do exist, and one could make an influence on another. But as a movie (Based on Nikki Reed's real life) it is way to amazing and detailed, plus the pacing is one of a kind it felt like three hours long, the story is perfect, the acting is perfect, nothing is missing, overall it is amazing but it is important. Full Review »