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Hard Candy

A movie directed by David Slade

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Hard Candy - 2005

  • Nov 10, 2008
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 watching this I finally understand how people can be drawn into the crowd frenzy attitude.  There were several times I thought ... ‘Oh, dang, don't do that' and secretly I was egging it on, thinking, ‘Go ahead, he probably deserves it anyway'.   You know how it is, most people have, at one time or another, after hearing about young children being violated or abused; "Just let me be alone with him/her for 10 minutes, I'll show them what being abused is all about".  That basic need and desire for revenge.   Of course, revenge isn't the right thing to do, but, still ...

So, with Hard Candy we find demure little 14 year old Hayley in a private chat room with Jeff.  He is an older man, like 25-30, a commercial photographer, and he wants to meet her in person.  After all, they have this great relationship online and they've known each other, on line, a total of three weeks.  She agrees, even instigates it a bit.   The meeting takes place in an unassuming coffee shop and after a few minutes of conversation, she talks him into taking her back to his house to hear a tape of a concert he attended. 

As they turn away, we see a poster of a missing girl, who is Hayley's age.  We, as viewers, immediately get the ‘oh, damn' feeling as they leave the coffee shop and continue to his house.  Liquor is presented, and consumed, and a terrifying day of torture begins.  Just as we suspected.    However, the outcome is certainly not what we expected.

Hard Candy was directed by David Slade; written by Brian Nelson.  It was nominated for 10 awards, winning four.  It carries an R rating; violence, aberrant sexual content, language.  It is an incredibly delicious Indie film that does exactly what Indie's are supposed to do.  They aren't required to follow rules, they don't necessarily give you a good/bad guy, and they certainly are never what you expect.

The filming on this was done in about 3 weeks yet the direction and camera work are very good.  For a low budget film, it doesn't appear cheap or cheesy.   The acting was both provocative and disturbing.  Ellen Page, 20 at the time, played Hayley.  Her size and appearance are all that of a young, forming girl.  Sorry Ellen.  However, this works to her advantage in this film because she comes off as very naïve at the beginning.  She did turn quite chilling, almost evil, as the film progressed.

Poor Patrick Wilson played Jeff Kohlver, the photographer.   His entire demeanor changed from the cocky exterior he presented in the coffee shop to the blubbering fool later in the movie.  And, hell, why not?  Even I clenched my teeth and shuddered when she took her knife to his gonads.  I thought, Damn girl.  At least the little white angel on one shoulder did; the little devil on the other shoulder said Do it, do it.  See, it was addicting, this need for revenge.

Overall I liked and hated the movie all at one time.  It was foul and repulsive but in an entirely different way.   It was human nature, unleashed, with the monster on the loose.   And as much as I wanted to turn it off, I wanted to see it to the conclusion.  I won't say either party was right or wrong; they were equally guilty but in diverse ways.  Sometimes the punishment does fit the crime and sometimes it is just humiliation. 


This movie is my submission to the Good Movies Write-Off 2, hosted by captaind as well as my submission into the Lean-n-Mean VII hosted by sleeper54


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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 . 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 …
review by . November 28, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Hard Candy is in no way a difficult movie to review because it has almost no flaws. I think everything is perfect and it is now in a very short list of amazing films that is filled with all talk and never bores you. The film is about a 14-year-old girl named Hayley played by Ellen Page. The film goes right into the base of its story when Hayley meets up with a 32 year old man named Jeff whom she met in a chat room. Already you can tell that this girl is a little different from any 14 year old you …
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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


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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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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