Film Analysis: 13 Going on 30

Film Title: 13 Going on 30
Year: 2004
Director: Gary Winick
Country: United States
Genre: Comedy/ Romance
If you could work on this film (change it), what would you change and why?
I would cut out the main character’s boyfriend because he’s not really important and doesn’t play a huge part in the film.

As you view films, consider how the cuts, camera angles, shots, and movement work to create particular meanings. Think about how they establish space, privilege certain characters, suggest relationships, and emphasize themes. In addition to shot distances, angles, editing, and camera movement, note details of the narrative, setting, characters, lighting, props, costume, tone, and sound.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist?Jenna
2. Who is the antagonist?Tom Tom
3. What is the conflict?Jenna fasts forward in time and gets stuck as a 30 year old. Also, she falls for a guy who’s already engaged.
4. What is the theme? (summarize in one or two words)Love and friendship
5. How is the story told (linear, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, at regular intervals)linear but with time travel.
6. What “happens” in the plot (Brief description)?Jenna wishes she was 30 and then wakes up as a 30-year-old. She has no clue what happened but she now has her dream life until she realizes it’s not as great as it seems.
7. How does the film influence particular reactions on the part of viewers (sound, editing,
characterization, camera movement, etc.)? Why does the film encourage such
The camera movement is very simple and basic but promotes being realistic and modern.
8. Is the setting realistic or stylized? What atmosphere does the setting suggest? Do
particular objects or settings serve symbolic functions?
The setting is realistic although the idea of her waking up as a 30 year old does not fit.
9. How are the characters costumed and made-up? What does their clothing or makeup
reveal about their social standing, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or age? How do
costume and makeup convey character?
Jenna is costumed to still have the personality of a 13 year old. Tom Tom has very classic makeup and costumes to show she is very average. All the other characters are also modern and average.
10. How does the lighting design shape our perception of character, space, or mood?The lighting is very bright and clear until Jenna realized this was not as glamorous as she thought, then the lighting got slightly darker.
11. How do camera angles and camera movements shape our view of characters or
spaces? What do you see cinematically?
The camera angles and movements were basic to keep the tone modern and realistic. Most scenes were just showing the characters with no fancy angles and movements.
12. What is the music’s purpose in the film? How does it direct our attention within the
image? How does it shape our interpretation of the image? What stands out about
the music?
The music’s purpose was to show the personality of who chose out the music. Jenna listens to music she liked when she was 13 to show she was not up to date with times.
13. How might industrial, social, and economic factors have influenced the film? Describe
how this film influences or connects to a culture?
There were not clear factors other than the change in times with economic growth and new technology. This film connects to culture by showing an average teenage girl who then becomes a still normal person.
14. Give an example of what a film critic had to say about this filmUse credible sources and cite sourcesExample: “The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review (1994) | Roger Ebert.” All
Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2015.
Sounds corny and predictable? Well, not quite. Director Gary Winick (who once upon a time made a gruesome murder thriller Out Of The Rain) manages to pick on an over-cute theme and turn it into just-cute.
Source: SubhashKJha
By: Subhash K Jha
Critic’s Rating: 3/5
Tuesday 23 November 2004
15. Select one scene no longer than 5 minutes that represents well the whole film and
shows relevant cinematic elements. Explain why.
I picked the scene where Jenna is at the Poise and Bloomingdales party.
16. In the selected scene: write a sentence for each of the elements below:
a. Screenwriting:People are starting to leave the party and Jenna is told she needs to get people involved so they will stay longer.
b. Sound Design:The sound is mostly Jenna talking and her trying to get people to dance with her with light music in the background until she picks a song to play.
c. Camera Movements:The camera becomes a wide-angle and then shows a close up of Jenna to show her all alone on the dance floor. Then there is another wide-angle as people start to join her.
d. Light Setup:The lighting is darker to show they are at a party. The lighting gets stronger to eliminate Jenna as she starts dancing.
e. Soundtrack:Jenna chooses to play the song Thriller by Michael Jackson.
18. What’s the socio-cultural context of this film? The socio-cultural context of the film is showing the change in times from the 1980s when Jenna is 13 to 17 years later when she wakes up and doesn’t understand what is going on.

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