“When you are five years old, you just find it scary. ‘I don’t want to go into the dark woods alone.’ Then, when you are 12 or 13, you find there’s something there you hadn’t noticed. You go one way: straight to grandmothers. Or you go another and get in touch with your sensuality.” You don’t have to work too hard to find a theme in Hardwicke’s work. The superficial connections between Red Riding Hood and Twilight are obvious.
But the new film also has a lot in common with the movie that made Hardwicke’s name. In 2003, having spent years working as a production designer, she made her directorial debut with the brilliantly harrowing Thirteen.
Detailing the wretched falling out between a mother and her increasingly wayward teenage daughter – the script was closely based on its star Nikki Reed’s own experiences – Hardwicke’s picture attempted a more explicit study of the allegorical dilemma facing Seyfried’s naive villager. Will she embrace the sinful wolf or morally upright grandma? “Oh it is similar. Yeah, I know. I was talking to somebody else about that today. When you’re young you have those feelings stirring inside you. Neither film would have a story without that dilemma. When you are trying things out, that’s when you learn things. That’s what is exciting about life.”
Hardwicke’s other two features also deal with adolescent confusion. The Nativity Story starred Keisha Castle-Hughes as a very human Virgin Mary; Lords of Dogtown dealt with skate-borders in hipper corners of Los Angeles. Hardwicke is fast becoming the laureate of disaffected female youth.
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