Review Date: September 15, 2003
Director: Catherine Hardwick
Writer: Catherine Hardwick, Nikkie Reed
Producers: Michael London, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
Evan Rachel Wood
I think this is an important movie for all parents to see, in case there are actually others out there who are as blind, or just plain na´ve and ignorant, as the adults in this film. I don't think this is altogether the best movie to show kids, since admittedly, it does "jack up" their anarchic lifestyle to a certain extent (I'll be damned if I didn't want to be a 13-year old girl, early on in the film), but seeing as it's rated R, it wasn't made for them anyway. Unlike KIDS, which I thought was one of the best anti-AIDS movies that I've ever seen, this film didn't have as much of a message (especially in terms of sex, which was surprisingly not dealt with in any great detail) or poignant ending though. One of its final scenes was obviously meant to be heart-breaking, but the only words that came out of my mouth by that point were: "about friggin' time!" So what's my final verdict? Well, other than the fact that it reiterated, in my mind, how important PARENTS are in the process of raising their own kids (who'd have thunk?), it presented a well-paced introduction into the innerworkings of a couple of 13-year old girls in this day and age, their pressures, desires and temptations (although greatly skewed to "Hollywood kids" and even more specifically, kids from dysfunctional homes). The film's camerawork was also extremely effective, with many shaky cams and wild cuts giving a better sense of the out-of-control nature of their lives (although this might aggravate some as well). It did get a little redundant after a while (okay, we get it...the kids are crazy and the parent's a lush), but in the end, its screenplay and characters were richer than any dimension found on even the tip of most fingernails of any two-bit "Hollywood teen movie", most of which concentrate more on selling soundtracks, than actually conveying a true sense of reality and truth. Being as this film came from a real place (semi-based on Reed's own life experiences), it should also give way to real discussions afterwards.
* RANT BEGINS * Yes, it's disgusting, it's messed up, it sucks that 13-year old girls are growing up so fast and have so much to deal with, but the basic message behind this film and the actual problem in society isn't an impossible one to solve, at least...if parents actually TRY to make a difference in their kids' lives!! In fact, for me, this film wasn't even so much about the two thirteen year-old girls' attitudes but the mother's remarkably blind and selfish manner in which she let "everything go". What the hell is wrong with these people? (and I'm not talking about the kids!) The last time I checked, if you bring a child into this world, they must quickly become the most important thing in your life no matter what and you have a responsibility to that kid and that responsibility doesn't end with paying the bills. It begins and ends with you paying attention to your child, their lives, their attitudes, their clothes, their thoughts, their mood swings, their everything! Stop acting like irresponsible children yourselves, stop bringing morons home to mess your kids up even more and get your shite together! Yes, I'm pissed because this film didn't give me any more insight into the world of our youth culture as it is today, but to the parents of those kids, those so-called "adults" who think it's cooler to be a "friend" to your daughter, than to teach them about the actual message that they might be sending out to boys when they wear their g-strings halfway up their back! Parents, for the love of God and all that is pure in this world...talk to your kids, listen to what they are saying, don't allow the phony slutty images of "role models" like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to teach your kids what is considered "hip" these days. Those "artists" know that they're only projecting an "image" to their audiences, as opposed to their apparent true natures, but how many youngsters can actually appreciate that subtle difference? (I know I can't!) Be a parent, for God's sakes. * END OF RANT *