Movies Like Thirteen: 10 Best Movies About Teen Struggles

When we talk about the difficult and changing time of being a teenager, there are not many movies that show it as strongly movies like Thirteen. It came out in 2003 and it’s a movie that makes you think. It tells the story of two teenage girls who are trying to figure out their way through high school, dealing with pressure from their friends, and trying to understand who they are.

In this article, we will look at some other interesting movies that talk about similar things and show what it’s like to be a teenager.

The Plot of “Thirteen”

“Thirteen” is a 2003 drama film that follows Tracy, a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles. She befriends Evie, a rebellious girl who introduces her to drugs and risky behavior. Tracy’s relationship with her mother becomes strained, and as Tracy’s life spirals out of control, she faces the consequences of her choices. The movie explores the challenges of adolescence, peer pressure, and the search for identity, showing the dangers of giving in to negative influences and the importance of parental support.

The Cast and Characters

The main cast and characters in the film “Thirteen” are:

  1. Tracy Freeland (played by Evan Rachel Wood): She is a 13-year-old girl trying to find her place and fit in with the popular crowd. She gets influenced by her rebellious friend, Evie.
  2. Evie Zamora (played by Nikki Reed): Tracy’s charismatic and rebellious friend who introduces her to drugs and risky behavior.
  3. Melodie “Mel” Freeland (played by Holly Hunter): Tracy’s mother, who struggles to understand and control her daughter’s behavior. She also has her own personal challenges.
  4. Brooke LaLaine (played by Deborah Kara Unger): She is a fashionable single mother who becomes involved with Tracy’s father, causing conflicts in Tracy’s life.
  5. Mason Freeland (played by Brady Corbet): Tracy’s older brother who supports her but also has his own issues.
  6. Brady (played by Jeremy Sisto): Mel’s boyfriend, whose addiction problems add tension to the family dynamic.

Movies Like Thirteen

If you really liked the deep emotions and meaningful ideas in the movie “Thirteen,” then you’ll love watching a hand-picked selection of similar films. These movies explore the challenges of being young, going against the norm, and finding yourself. They have interesting stories that will keep you engaged and make you think. So, grab some popcorn and prepare to discover these captivating movies that truly capture what it’s like to be a teenager.

Movie TitleRelease YearRatings
The Perks of Being a Wallflower20128.0/10
Lady Bird20177.4/10
Eighth Grade20187.4/10
Fish Tank20097.3/10
The Edge of Seventeen20167.3/10
Ghost World20017.3/10
Almost Famous20007.9/10
Stand by Me19868.1/10

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a really interesting movie that came out in 2012. It’s about a teenager named Charlie, played by Logan Lerman, who starts high school and feels like he doesn’t fit in. He’s a bit shy and likes to watch and think about things.

Charlie is going through a tough time because his best friend died and he still has sad memories of his aunt who passed away. But things change when he becomes friends with two older students, Patrick (played by Ezra Miller) and Sam (played by Emma Watson). They show him a new side of life filled with friendship, love, and discovering who he really is.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: Both movies explore the real and truthful depiction of being a teenager, showing the difficulties and intense emotions that young people go through. They don’t shy away from addressing the challenges and emotional ups and downs that adolescents experience.

2. Lady Bird (2017)

“Lady Bird” is a movie about a girl named Christine, but she prefers to be called Lady Bird. She is in her last year of high school in Sacramento, California, during the early 2000s. The movie follows her as she deals with her family, friends, love, and figuring out who she is.

Lady Bird is a lively and independent young woman who wants to have exciting experiences beyond her hometown. She dreams of going to college on the East Coast because she feels like Sacramento holds her back.

The film focuses on Lady Bird’s complicated relationship with her strong-willed mother, Marion. They often have arguments and struggle to understand each other, which makes them feel upset. At the same time, Lady Bird makes and navigates different friendships and romantic relationships. Each of these connections shapes how she sees the world and how she sees herself.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: “Lady Bird” is a remarkable movie that stands out for its authentic portrayal of what it’s like to be a teenager. It delves into the complexities of relationships, especially those between a mother and a daughter. The film is known for its strong female characters who take the lead and drive the story forward.

3. Eighth Grade (2018)

“Eighth Grade” is a special movie that really connects with people by showing the real struggles and victories of being a teenager. It came out in 2018 and was directed by Bo Burnham. The film takes a heartfelt and relatable look at what it’s like to be in eighth grade.

The story revolves around Kayla Day, played by Elsie Fisher, who is a shy and socially awkward thirteen-year-old girl dealing with the challenges of middle school. She’s trying to fit in, make friends, and discover who she is as a person. “Eighth Grade” captures the universal experiences of self-discovery and the complexities of growing up.

What makes “Eighth Grade” stand out is its honest portrayal of the fears and insecurities that many teenagers face during this important phase of their lives. Kayla’s journey is filled with moments that we can all relate to, like feeling unsure of ourselves, awkward situations, and wanting to be accepted. Elsie Fisher gives an incredible performance, bringing authenticity to the character and truly capturing the ups and downs of adolescence.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: Through the story of Kayla, the film captures the complexities and conflicts of growing up in a digital age. It encourages viewers to reflect on their own relationship with technology and the impact it has on their well-being and sense of self.

4. Moonlight (2016)

“Moonlight” is an exceptional and highly praised film that came out in 2016. It was directed by Barry Jenkins and tells a powerful and poetic story about identity, sexuality, and the challenges of growing up in a difficult environment.

The movie is divided into three parts, each focusing on a different stage in the life of the main character, Chiron. We see Chiron as a child, played by Alex Hibbert, as a teenager, played by Ashton Sanders, and as an adult, played by Trevante Rhodes. The story takes place in Miami and follows Chiron’s journey as he tries to understand his own identity and sexuality.

What makes “Moonlight” special is its honest portrayal of the complexities of masculinity and sexuality. Chiron, who is a young Black man, struggles with societal expectations, his own desires, and the fear of being judged or rejected because of his sexual orientation. The film explores the challenges that Chiron faces as he tries to find his own path in a world that often misunderstands and excludes him.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: One of the important things the movie talks about is masculinity and how it connects to sexuality. It follows the story of a character named Chiron as he goes through different parts of his life. We see him struggle, grow, and try to accept himself while dealing with what society expects from him and what he wants for himself.

5. Fish Tank (2009)

The story revolves around Mia Williams, played by Katie Jarvis, a 15-year-old girl living in a working-class neighborhood in England. Mia’s life is difficult because her family is dysfunctional, opportunities are limited, and she often feels alone. However, her passion for dancing gives her a way to express herself and brings hope into her life.

Like “Thirteen,” “Fish Tank” explores the complexities of teenage rebellion and the search for identity. Mia’s journey is full of frustration, longing, and a desire to escape from her tough situation. The movie shows the real struggles of a young girl trying to find her place in a world that feels suffocating and hard to navigate.

Her relationship with her mother, played by Kierston Wareing, is strained, and things become even more complicated when her mother’s new boyfriend, Connor, played by Michael Fassbender, enters the picture.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: “Fish Tank” is a captivating movie that fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy for several good reasons. It was directed by Andrea Arnold and came out in 2009. The film takes us on an emotional journey through adolescence, personal dreams, and the struggles of growing up in a tough environment.

6. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

“The Edge of Seventeen” tells the story of Nadine Franklin, played by Hailee Steinfeld, who is a socially awkward and often misunderstood seventeen-year-old girl going through high school. Just like Tracy in “Thirteen,” Nadine feels alone, wants to be accepted, and is trying to figure out who she is.

One of the best things about the movie is how well it captures the complicated emotions and experiences of being a teenager. “The Edge of Seventeen” shows Nadine dealing with low self-esteem, friendships, and romantic relationships, which are things that many teens can relate to. It talks about feeling lonely, doubting yourself, and feeling pressure to fit in. The story speaks to the common experiences of growing up.

Nadine has a complicated relationship with her older brother, played by Blake Jenner, and a strained relationship with her mother, played by Kyra Sedgwick.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: It came out in 2016 and was directed by Kelly Fremon Craig. The film tells a genuine and heartfelt story about the challenges, worries, and self-discovery that teenagers experience.

7. Ghost World (2001)

“Ghost World” is a movie about two teenage girls named Enid and Rebecca, played by Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson. It was released in 2001 and directed by Terry Zwigoff. The movie is based on a comic book by Daniel Clowes.

The story follows Enid and Rebecca after they finish high school. They feel disappointed and unsure about their lives. They go through different experiences and adventures while trying to figure out what they want to do next.

Enid is a unique and skeptical girl who likes strange things. She becomes interested in a man named Seymour, played by Steve Buscemi, who is older than her. They form an unexpected bond. As Enid and Rebecca grow apart, Enid’s relationship with Seymour becomes important to her.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: “Ghost World” is a movie that came out in 2001, and it was directed by Terry Zwigoff. “Ghost World” tells a story that is both sad and thought-provoking about the journey from being a teenager to becoming an adult.

8. Almost Famous (2000)

“Almost Famous” is a movie that came out in 2000. It’s about a young boy named William who wants to become a music journalist. He gets a chance to write for a famous magazine called Rolling Stone.

William joins a rock band called Stillwater on their tour. He wants to learn about their music and write a great article about them. As he travels with the band, he experiences exciting and challenging moments.

During the tour, William makes friends with different people, including the band’s lead guitarist, Russell, and a girl named Penny Lane. He learns about love, friendship, and the ups and downs of the music industry.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: “Almost Famous” shows the excitement of rock concerts and the impact of music on people’s lives. It tells a story about a young boy growing up and following his dreams. The movie has memorable characters and meaningful moments that will make you feel nostalgic and inspired.

9. Submarine (2010)

Submarine movie was directed by Richard Ayoade and released in 2010. It’s about a teenager named Oliver Tate who lives in Wales, a country in the United Kingdom.

Oliver is going through the challenges of being a teenager. His parents are having problems in their relationship, which makes him worried. At school, he falls in love with a girl named Jordana, and they start a relationship that has its ups and downs.

In the movie, Oliver faces different problems, like dealing with bullies and trying to impress Jordana. He also learns more about himself and grows as a person.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: “Submarine” would be enjoyed by fans of “Thirteen” for its authentic portrayal of teenage experiences, exploration of complex relationships, and emotional resonance.

10. Stand by Me (1986)

“Stand by Me” is a film released in 1986, directed by Rob Reiner. It tells the story of four young boys on a journey to find a missing boy’s dead body in a small town in Oregon.

The movie is set in the 1950s and follows the adventures of Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern. They embark on a long and challenging trek through the wilderness, facing dangers and overcoming obstacles along the way.

As the boys search for the body, they also discover more about themselves and their friendships. They confront their fears, share personal stories, and bond with each other in profound ways. Through their journey, they experience the bittersweet transition from childhood innocence to the realities of adulthood.

Why fans of “Thirteen” would enjoy it: “Stand by Me” is a coming-of-age tale that explores themes of friendship, courage, and the loss of innocence. It captures the nostalgia and camaraderie of youth, while also addressing the struggles and challenges that shape young lives.

Where To Watch “Thirteen” Movies?

You can watch the movie “Thirteen” on different platforms. Here are some ways to find it:

  1. Streaming Services: Look on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or Disney+ to see if they have “Thirteen” available for streaming. Sometimes you have to pay a subscription fee or rent the movie.
  2. Online Rental or Purchase: Check out places like iTunes, Google Play, or Vudu. You can rent or buy digital copies of the movie to watch online or download it.
  3. DVD or Blu-ray: If you prefer physical copies, you can try local video rental stores or buy the DVD or Blu-ray from online retailers such as Amazon or Best Buy.

Check here to watch on: Amazon


Can a 14 year old watch Thirteen?

The movie “Thirteen” is rated R, which means it is intended for audiences who are 17 years old or above. The content of the film includes mature themes, explicit language, drug use, and intense scenes depicting adolescent struggles. Due to these elements, it may not be suitable for a 14-year-old viewer.

Why is 13 movie rated R?

“Thirteen” is a movie that’s rated R. The R rating means it’s for adults or people who are 17 and older. This rating is because the movie deals with mature topics, has strong language, shows drug use, and has intense scenes about teenage struggles.


I hope you find these movie suggestions as interesting and exciting as “Thirteen” itself. Each film on the list explores similar themes like finding yourself, going against the norm, and the ups and downs of being a teenager. Take the plunge into these thought-provoking stories and let them inspire and make you think about your own life. These movies can make you feel all kinds of emotions and help you understand the struggles that teenagers face. So, have fun watching these amazing films and see the world from different perspectives.

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