Going on 13

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**** (Four stars)
This thoughtful documentary by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Dawn Valadez invites you to step right back into the painfully awkward world of puberty and middle school. Just what you want, right? The film is excruciating at times, as it follows four racially diverse urban California girls from varied backgrounds over a period of three years, from fifth to seventh grade. Most of the wincing comes from familiar scenarios, like exclusion from playground cliques and name-calling, but some of the pain emanates from less usual tales. Young Rosie suffers anxiety thanks to an obese mother who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, while Esmerelda must rise daily at 3am to get a ride to class from her school-janitor father. Rest assured, it’s not all depressing. On the contrary, it is a rare and frequently inspiring close-up on girls who are at an age that is usually quite impenetrable to adults.—Beth Greenfield, Gay & Lesbian editor

[This is a TONY staff review, written for the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It is not considered an official review and should not be read as such. Please think of it as a casual impression from a movie-loving friend.] 

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Director: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Dawn Valadez
Screenwriter: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Dawn Valadez
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