Though Catherine Hardwicke’s film errs on the manipulative side, it nevertheless has the pleasures of superb performances by three actresses. First, Holly Hunter as Melanie Freeland, trying to raise her thirteen year old daughter and her siblings on a shoe string budget, estranged from her husband and coping with an in and out relationship, all the while trying to get through her days as a recovering alcoholic. Hunter has rarely been better – she’s certainly been much worse (unfortunately).
Evan Rachel Wood plays her daughter Tracy. In Tracy’s quest for popularity, she’s forced to grow up way too fast. Unfortunately, she makes a poor choice for a friend. Nikki Reed plays the amoral Evie Zamora (sure her home-life is a horror show, even when not gilded up by far-fetched stories). Reed also co-wrote the screenplay with director Hardwicke.
Emotional family drama that proves that love does not conquer all. At least not in this film.