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Hard Candy

A movie directed by David Slade

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A Tightly Written, Directed and Acted Controversial Thriller

  • Sep 20, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+5
HARD CANDY is one of those films that took enormous courage on the part of the writer (Brian Nelson), director (David Slade), and producers - let alone the actors - to bring a tale of pedophilia to the mainstream audience. Made for a small budget (yet the production values are so very artistic that it feels like an expensive film), HARD CANDY is essentially a duet for two actors: the actors Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson deliver performances that become indelibly burned on the mind of the viewer.

32-year old photographer Jeff has been chatting online with 14-year old Haley for three weeks using standard chatroom seduction lines. They meet, talk, seem to get along well - until Haley invites herself to Jeff's home, much against Jeff's better judgment. Once home the beautiful space in which Jeff lives (the set decor is splendid, using sensitive colors in a cinematic way), the walls adorned with photographs of young models, seems a fitting space for a fine photographer. But soon the twist of the story explodes and Haley lets Jeff know that she is there to punish him for his pedophilia and for some specific events in his history. She drugs him, and when he awakens Jeff is the captive, forced to undergo the intensive questioning and innuendoes from Haley, including being set up for castration. The tension mounts to a peak as the two characters uncover aspects of each other; the final resolution of the long encounter comes as a stunning surprise.

The quality of the film is so fine that no judgments are made: is Jeff truly a criminal pedophile?, is Haley insane?, can this reversal of roles happen? The script is so beautifully written that it remains intelligent and straight, forcing the viewer to become involved in the quest for truth. Ellen Page delivers a brilliant performance as Haley and Patrick Wilson steps out of his usual milk toast roles to create a man driven by strange needs who gradually comes to a point of self acceptance in one of the more powerful scenes of film this viewer has seen.

The audience for this examination of pedophilia may be small and therein lies the pity. This is a film that deals with a tough subject so very well that the viewer gains an understanding into dysfunctional characteristics while being caught up in a suspenseful thriller of a story. This is independent film making at its best. Grady Harp, September 06

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More Hard Candy reviews
review by . July 15, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Tackling important matters in very modern contexts, 'Hard Candy' is at best a difficult movie to absorb and watch. What starts as potentially a cautionary tale takes on many nuances and twists as a young teenager hooks up with a much older man via the Internet. As a seeming innocent teenager and as the clever, methodical creep both characters come together tragically, but in ways that seem (and unfortunately are) too real. Gripping from start to finish, the plot is cleverly written--even if the …
Quick Tip by . June 25, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
This is one of the absolute dumbest movies I've ever seen in my life.  When you get past the extremely contrived storyline and characters and heavy-handed feeling of the film, all you got is a "shock factor for shock factor's sake" type of film, and a horribly done one at that.  My biggest complaint with this ungodly terrible movie was Ellen Page's character.  She's only 14 and unless if her dad is John Rambo (which I know ISN'T the case), the …
review by . October 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
For some reason the credits list 5 people, but for basically the entire 100 minutes it is all Hayley (Ellen Page) and Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson). She plays a Lolita type and he plays the Humbert type where Lolita and Humbert meet via chat sessions. She believes he is a pedophile and a killer and she puts him through some rather torturous scenarios as the 100 minutes tick down. These scenarios would be hard to believe and would be the reason for watching so I will leave them unsaid. It is very …
Quick Tip by . June 18, 2011
Tremendously shocking and controversial to those who were born yesterday in the most sheltered upper middle-class suburbs, this picture stars Ellen Page at her indulgently obnoxious worst. A message to David Slade: the overfed perverts at 12chan use your silly movie as a punchline and sooner or later, so will I.
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Gritty dark film. Ellen Page shows shes not just a cute face. She can play dark complex charecteres.
review by . April 29, 2009
This movie is like Open Water, where there are only two actors in a situation that you know something terrifyingly awful is going to occur but you are compelled to watch anyway. In this one a thirty-something man is trolling the Internet chat rooms looking for young girls. He has a conversation with a 14 year old girl and they agree to meet.     He tells the girl that he is a photographer that does a lot of work for magazines and the girl ends up at his house. The first thing …
review by . December 19, 2008
A word of advice for any dude who is thinking about watching Hard Candy, do yourself a favor and don't eat beforehand. In Hard Candy, this photographer, Jeff (hot hot in glasses Patrick Wilson) chats up a 14 year old girl Hayley (everyone's favorite impregnanted precocious teen, Ellen Page at her pixiest) online. They meet for coffee, she convinces him to take her back to his house where she proceeds to drug and fuck with him for the majority of the movie. She does some seriously depraved shit. …
review by . November 04, 2008
Hard Candy
A fourteen year old girl, Hayley (Ellen Page), chatting on the internet meets a 32 year old photographer whose moniker is 'lensmaster319', but who's real name is Jeff (Patrick Wilson). They arrange to meet in a coffee shop called Nighthawks.     Hayley is far too wise for her years, and Jeff's feeble attempts to prove himself above picking up on her are washed away in her innocent insistence that he take her to his house to hear a bootleg MP3. What ensues is a game of cat-and-mouse, …
review by . November 10, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: ........     Cons: .........     The Bottom Line:   "I'll keep you my dirty little secret  Don't tell anyone or you'll be just another regret  My dirty little secret"  ~The All-American Rejects         This is one of those rare movies that both repulses you, yet draws you in.  The subject matter is quite intense but not nearly as intense as the result.   After …
review by . July 01, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
This movie is like Open Water, where there are only two actors in a situation that you know something terrifyingly awful is going to occur but you are compelled to watch anyway. In this one a thirty-something man is trolling the Internet chat rooms looking for young girls. He has a conversation with a 14 year old girl and they agree to meet.    He tells the girl that he is a photographer that does a lot of work for magazines and the girl ends up at his house. The first thing …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Wiki

Claustrophobic and brightly colored, this tightly wound psychological thriller is constantly pulling the rug out from under the viewer, mostly due to the tense, explosive performances of its two main characters. The tale opens with a coffee shop rendezvous between 14-year-old Haley (the fantastic Ellen Page) and 32-year-old fashion photographer Jeff (Patrick Wilson), who have previously met only online in a chat room. Despite his questionable enthusiasm at meeting a girl half his age, Jeff comes off as slightly awkward and shy; rather, it's Haley who is unnervingly forthright in her flirtation. She suggests that they go back to his place, he complies, and, once there, Haley seductively convinces him to take pictures of her. She exhibits a beguiling mixture of innocence and precocious sexuality, but before anything happens between them, Jeff passes out under the influence of the drugs she's slipped him. When he wakes up, Haley drops her innocent demeanor and begins to undertake a meticulously planned game...

The supercharged possibilities of a single set and two amped-up actors are explored inHard Candy, a twisted cocktail with a poison kicker. After a flirtatious encounter in an online chat room, two people agree to meet for coffee: a 32-year-old man (Patrick Wilson) and a 14-year-old girl (Ellen Page). They quickly advance to his house, and just as quickly, the apparent pedophilic seduction morphs into something else entirely. After the tables turn,Hard Candybecomes...
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Details

Director: David Slade
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: April 14, 2006
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Brian Nelson
DVD Release Date: September 19, 2006
Runtime: 1hr 39min
Studio: Vulcan Productions, Lions Gate Films
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