Movie Review – 13 Going on 30

‘13 Going on 30’ is a 2004 American romantic comedy with a mild touch of fantasy, starring Jennifer Garner. It was produced by Revolution Studios for Columbia Pictures and directed by Gary Winick.


The protagonist of the movie, 13 year old Jenna Rink, is a girl obsessed with trying to fit in and be popular. She desperately wants to join the “Six Chicks”, her high school’s own gang of popular, perfect girls, led by Lucy Tom-Tom Wyman. At her 13th birthday party, she finds herself the victim of a ruthless practical joke of Lucy’s and she thinks her best friend, Matt Flamhoff, is responsible for it. Shattered and miserable, she wishes to be “30, flirty and thriving”. But like they say, one should be careful what one wishes for, as one might just get it all, as happens with Jenna. She receives the shock of her life to suddenly wake up as a 30 year old woman – and not just any 30 year old woman, but a very successful one at that. She is the editor of a popular glamour magazine, Poise, and is good friends with none other than Madonna herself, not to mention a dozen other celebrities. She is living the life she always dreamt of having as a 13 year old girl – a closet full of the latest dresses, bags, shoes and fashion accessories; the chance to go to parties in limousines; and a live-in relationship with a famous golfer! But she soon starts to wonder if money and glamour can replace everything. Can a lavish lifestyle really block out the void created by the loss of happy human relationships, true friends, and most importantly, love?


The movie is multi-themed. The various themes can be best put in the following words.

“What one truly, madly, deeply wishes for; does not necessarily have the capability of imparting true happiness to him.”

“Money and glamour can give a lavish lifestyle, but cannot replace lost friends and relationships.”

“One does not truly realize the value of what he has, until those things get taken away from him.”


Jennifer Garner’s role in the movie is commendable. She indeed does a good job in portraying a successful 30 year old woman. The shock at having gone from 13 to 30 years old overnight is best portrayed by Jennifer Garner and in my opinion, no actress could have done it better. Further, Garner is very well able to enact an ideal 30 old successful woman in a way that is highly convincing as well as amusing. At the end of the day, the movie was intended to make it into the comedy genre, and Garner has done a good job in showing serious emotion and humour side by side.

The movie in some ways is touching, and tries to give out a message to the public. It tries to convey the fact that the people who love you will stick with you until the end. They are the only ones who are capable of giving you true happiness in life. Such relationships should be cherished and one must make a proactive effort to keep them healthy. The end of the movie has a deep impact on the viewers.

All in all, it is a new genre of movies altogether – combining humour and serious relationship emotions in the most wonderful way. It is a beautiful movie worth watching several times.

Harshini Shanker

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