Thirteen (2003)

Thirteen
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writer: Catherine Hardwicke, Nikki Reed
Cast: Nikki Reed, Evan Rachel Wood, Holly Hunter, Brady Corbet, Sarah Clarke, Vanessa Hudgens, Jeremy Sisto, Deborah Kara Unger
Seen on: 31.1.2021

Plot:
Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) just started 7th grade and is desperate to fit in. She sets her sight on Evie (Nikki Reed), widely known as the prettiest girl in school. Evie is a wild child who basks in Tracy’s attention and also takes to Tracy’s mother Mel (Holly Hunter). The two girls become inseparable, Tracy quickly discovering drugs and sex through Evie and both egging each other on, as things spiral out of control.

Thirteen is an excellent debut feature for both Hardwicke and Reed that feels like a debut in every frame – but in the best sense, filled with an energy and wildness that mirrors the central characters.

The film poster showing Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed) sticking out their tongues to show off their tongue piercings.
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Kajillionaire (2020)

Kajillionaire
Director: Miranda July
Writer: Miranda July
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger, Gina Rodriguez, Mark Ivanir
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2020

Content Note: abusive parents

Plot:
Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) lives with her parents Robert (Richard Jenkins) and Theresa (Debra Winger). They live rather unconvetionally, getting their money through full-time grifting. But their small crookery is never really enough and they dream of making it big some day. When Robert and Theresa meet Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) by chance, they ask her to join them for a big heist they’re planning. This throws Old Dolio completely for a loop and none of their lives will remain unchanged by that decision.

Kajillionaire looks like a comedy, and it often is funny, but there is an underlying sadness to it that really makes the film. I really liked the mix and the film.

The film poster showing Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) surrounded by a lot of stuff, all in front of a pink background.
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Frozen II (2019)

Frozen II
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writer: Jennifer Lee
Based on (or rather inspired by): Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy tale The Snow Queen
Sequel to: Frozen
Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, Jeremy Sisto, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds
Seen on: 18.12.2019

Content Note: (critical treatment of) colonialism, racism

Plot:
Anna (Kirsten Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) lifted the curse off Arendelle and Elsa has risen to the throne, making an excellent queen. But when things finally seem to be okay, a voice starts calling Elsa – a voice only she can hear. It beckons her, but it’s only after strange – and threatening – things start happening in Arendelle that Elsa resolves to go. She knows she has to find a forest that used to be the kingdom of Northuldra and the place where her own grandfather was killed by the natives. And Anna knows that she will not let her sister go on any mission alone anymore. So they start making their way north together with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Sven, and Olaf (Josh Gad) to rediscover history.

Frozen II feels very in tune with the first Frozen film, though personally I found the music not quite up to snuff. No matter, though, because the themes the film tackles more than make up for it: surprisingly heavy for a children’s film, they still handle them mostly well.

The film poster showing the main characters and smaller Elsa doing some ice magic.

[SPOILERS]

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Into the Forest (2015)

Into the Forest
Director: Patricia Rozema
Writer: Patricia Rozema
Based on: Jean Hegland’s novel
Cast: Ellen PageEvan Rachel WoodMax MinghellaCallum Keith RennieMichael EklundWendy Crewson
Seen on: 2.9.2017
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Plot:
Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) grow up with their father (Callum Keith Rennie) just outside of a small town in the Redwood Forest. But then something happens and slowly the infrastructure around them falls apart. First there is no more electricity, then no more gas and then they are entirely isolated in their forest home. When they realize that power, infrastructure and life as it was won’t be reinstated any time soon, Nell and Eva have to try and manage their lives on their own.

Into the Forest is not only a great adaptation of the novel I utterly loved, but simply a beautiful film in its own right.

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Across the Universe (2007)

Across the Universe
Director: Julie Taymor
Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
Based on: Songs by The Beatles
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther, T.V. Carpio, Harry Lennix, Logan Marshall-Green, Eddie Izzard, Bono, Joe Cocker, Salma Hayek

Plot:
Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a working guy from Liverpool who takes a chance to go to the USA to find his father. And he does find him, but more importantly he also finds Max (Joe Anderson) and his sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). While Max is drafted into the Vietnam war, Lucy and Jude try to build a life for themselves in New York. But things aren’t always easy.

I thought that I would like Across the Universe much better than I did. I mean, a musical based on Beatles songs, directed by Julie Taymor? Hells yes. But unfortunately the whole thing is hit and miss; missing especially a strong male lead.

AcrosstheUniverse

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The Ides of March (2011)

The Ides of March
Director: George Clooney
Writer: George Clooney
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, George Clooney, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Stephen (Ryan Gosling) is one of the PR guys for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) who is running for president. Even though Stephen is young, he is rather experienced and his career is definitely on the rise, while at the same time he managed to retain some idealism. He honestly believes in Mike. Mike’s campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is the experienced, jaded counterpoint to his idealism. But even though they make a very good team, things in politics are never easy and only get trickier.

I was a bit worried since I’m usually quickly bored by these politics plots. I’m just not that interested. But the cast is an absolute dream come true, and Clooney really is a very talented director, so I still had hope. And my hopes were completely justified. It’s a brilliant film.

[That poster kinda freaks me out.]

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The Conspirator (2010)

The Conspirator
Director: Robert Redford
Writer: James D. Solomon
Cast: James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, Justin Long, Danny Huston, Colm Meaney, Alexis Bledel

Plot:
After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the conspirators are quickly arrested. Among them is Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) who is pretty much suffering for the crimes of her son. But the whole country is so riled up that nobody really cares. Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) takes on her defense in the military trial that is set up for her and where her constitutional rights are abused the whole time.

The Conspirator is a movie with a mission that gets so righteous and sanctimonious that it’s barely bearable. The cast ends up being its only redeeming feature.

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The Wrestler (2008)

The Wrestler is the latest movie directed by Darren Aronofsky, starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.

Plot:
Randy “The Ram” Robinson [Mickey Rourke] is an ageing wrestler, who left his glory days behind him and now makes a living by appearing in school gyms on weekends. The only person he confides in is the stripper Cassidy [Marisa Tomei]. When Randy has an heart attack, he tries to steer his life around.

The Wrestler is a sensitive portrayal of a broken existence, of a man who has made many mistakes in his life and knows it, but he still cannot escape himself.

the_wrestler_poster

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