More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.48

Awesome30.9%
Worth A Look: 28.65%
Average: 12.36%
Pretty Bad: 13.48%
Total Crap: 14.61%

12 reviews, 106 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Fortress, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

MFA by Jay Seaver

You Only Live Once by Jay Seaver

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Hard Candy
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Peter Sobczynski

"'Thank Heaven for Little Girls' my ass!"
2 stars

For nearly two-thirds of its running time, the provocative drama “Hard Candy” looks like it might be the rare independent film to live up to its advanced buzz. It features a provocative premise, a pair of outstanding lead performances from actors in difficult roles and a tense, well-written screenplay that is willing to take chances. Unfortunately, at a certain point, the film takes a wrong turn so sudden and severe that it all but obliterates all the good work that proceeded it. By the time it reaches its ludicrous finale, it has gone so far off the tracks that you can’t believe that it came from the same people responsible for the rest of the film.

Using the idea of grown men using the Internet to meet and hook up with underage children, despite the possibility that they are communicating with someone who is not as they seem, “Hard Candy” opens on a meeting in a coffee shop between Jeff (Patrick Wilson), a photographer in his early 30's, and Hayley (Ellen Page), a girl who appears to be about 14 or so. This is their first face-to-face encounter after some chat-room flirting and after some slightly awkward banter, Jeff invites her back to his isolated house with the promise of a bootleg MP3 and the possibility of her modeling for him. Once they arrive, Hayley becomes more aggressive and goes off into the kitchen to make screwdrivers–both of which Jeff accepts with no visible qualms. Before long, Jeff passes out and when he comes too, he learns that there is a lot more to Hayley than meets the eye and that she had her own ulterior reasons for going back to his house.

Without giving away too many details, I can say that what transpires between the two plays like a hellacious blend of “Death and the Maiden,” an extended version of the money scene from “Reservoir Dogs” and a Gender Studies 101 discussion salon. For a while, it works pretty well thanks to writer Brian Nelson’s spiky dialogue, director David Slade’s ability to keep things oving briskly without shying away from the inherent nastiness and the two impressive lead performances. Wilson, despite the restraints forced upon his character, figures out a way to make him shift between a figure of bland menace and a squirmy weasel whom you almost find yourself beginning to pity while Page is simply and implacably terrifying in her part, even when the implausibilities surrounding her character begin to pile up.

The problem is that the screenplay has two inherent problems that it simply cannot overcome. For starters, much of the conflict revolves not around whether Jeff had perverse designs on Hayley (that is pretty much a given the moment he began letting her make screwdrivers), but whether he did something unspeakable to another teen girl prior to his pickup of Hayley–the film tries to keep us guessing but it seems kind of pointless when you think about how unlikely it is that someone would make a movie about a young girl whose accusations against an older man turn out to be false in the end. The bigger flaw comes with the final scene that the film has apparently been building its way towards for 100-odd minutes–it doesn’t work because the only thing less likely than that final denouement is the amount of hoops the story has to jump through in the last 30 minutes to get to that point.

Because it has been told with a lot of style and skill, there is a temptation to forgive “Hard Candy” for its various flaws but they eventually become too overwhelming in the final reels to ignore. This is one of those films that is sure to inspire long and thoughtful conversations about the issues it raises from anyone who does choose to go and see it–I only wish that a few more of those conversations had occurred before or during the production instead of after.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11287&reviewer=389
originally posted: 04/28/06 16:43:25
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2006 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/25/15 David Hollingsworth An intense, and squirm-inducing modern classic. 5 stars
4/10/15 stanley welles compelling, well-written and admirably performed 4 stars
4/16/14 Charles Tatum Page doesn't quite ring true. 4 stars
12/04/12 Mason Very Very original! direction is superb and original plot 4 stars
10/17/12 Jacqui Intelligent, thought provoking, rivetting. Ellen Page is amazing. 5 stars
8/25/12 Faraz hard movie to watch 4 stars
8/15/12 Robin Utterly grim and pointless. We get it, pedophiles are bad people. See 'Freeway' instead. 2 stars
6/09/12 liker of good movies Wothless 1 stars
3/16/12 PAUL SHORTT DISTURBING BUT ENGROSSING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER WITH SOME GOOD PERFORMANCES 3 stars
11/10/11 matthew thompson dalldorf Don't forget AUDITION! 1 stars
11/10/11 Thompson ...or 'Freeway.' 1 stars
4/19/11 matthew Stick with 'Death And The Maiden' 1 stars
1/11/11 Moose Rapper "Hayley was impossibly smart..." To bad the wasn't. 1 stars
3/22/10 nathan b great directing, acting and editing makes up for its lacking plot. 4 stars
3/13/10 brian That's one heapin' steamin' helpin' of vigilante justice there. 5 stars
9/28/09 jpwcpa Hayley was impossibly smart, and impossibly strong, for a 14-yr-old 2 stars
9/02/09 SpaceGoat Self-indulgent, ghoulish and sadistic, the target audience clearly being man-haters. 1 stars
7/08/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Something every moralist will want to masterbait while watching. 1 stars
6/20/09 jeanne Ellen Page was incredible. It goes around, it comes around... 5 stars
3/28/09 GRAPELGANGER Awesome movie... great ending 5 stars
3/26/09 mariah the ending was awesome 4 stars
1/09/09 Lori good movie but pretty odd and nasty 4 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. ellen page is awesome. she can be this freak, and she can be juno... 4 stars
10/29/08 Matt C. Wow. So many reviewers who feel Hayley was too cruel to the pedophile/murderer. Great film/ 5 stars
9/26/08 Timothy Kirkland Smart writing, cast of 5 people, very off center 4 stars
9/14/08 Claire ok, did you even watch the movie?? she DIDNT cut his balls off!!! stop complaining. 4 stars
9/07/08 Rod Good acting, rubbish directing, dodgy plot, not worth sitting through 1 stars
9/06/08 m Brilliant movie. Great acting - Ellen Page can be a monster. She doesn't cut his balls off! 5 stars
8/11/08 Heather A 14-yr-old who can do surgery? Gimme a break! Totally unbelievable! 1 stars
7/13/08 Paul's2¢ Two pervs - one who doesn't kill, one who doesn't cut. Vigilante hot air for simpletons. 3 stars
7/01/08 Chris Don't like torture movies (like Hostel - yuck!) and this stinks too, despite good acting. 1 stars
6/12/08 DK A great film, understanding of tension is apparent in Slade's direction. 5 stars
4/30/08 art THIS IS ONE SICK MOVIE 1 stars
4/30/08 dan i think this film was wierd, i thought it was pretty gd but didnt think he deserved 2 die 4 stars
4/09/08 Michelle The ending is lacking. Maybe flashbacks of the girl that was killed would help tie it? 3 stars
4/07/08 bob total shit, with shit ending, and he moved pretty well concidering his balls where cut off, 1 stars
3/29/08 Lawrence Peabody Excellent performances make up for the flimsy plot; a flawed but memorable thriller 4 stars
2/03/08 Joseph Becker A movie that makes one ask who is the problem? The "pedofile", or those quick to judge. 4 stars
1/14/08 David Pollastrini could of used some gore but great and scary 5 stars
1/13/08 TreeTiger Craaaap-o-la 2 stars
1/05/08 Cheryl who's more messed up? . the prick teasing torturing chic or the prick teasee 5 stars
10/20/07 eleanore compelling-- original 4 stars
10/14/07 mr.mike edge of your seat suspense , marred by an unconvincing ending 4 stars
8/07/07 Chris Hansen You're not on Dateline.....bitch!!!! 5 stars
7/24/07 fools♫gold God, does this pick up! Perfect length, and explains the perfect amount! 5 stars
7/18/07 DETMURDS The "Left" must have hated this movie,...let kids be kids is what I say here! 3 stars
7/10/07 Michael its was supensefull and not as cliché as mxt movies now a days. 5 stars
5/28/07 Beverly Such an unusual plot. Left me thinking for hours, for days. Ellen Page is a phenomena. 5 stars
5/17/07 Diane I agree with the film critic. Manipulatingly provocative yet badly written, & overdirected. 1 stars
5/16/07 Mackelby I had a hard on from the very beginning, but could never really get off to this. Tease... 3 stars
4/17/07 bob Interesting...would have liked more explanation as to how 'Haley' knew what she knew..... 4 stars
3/23/07 TreeTiger It stunk really bad - stay away from this steaming pile of hot pooh..!! 1 stars
3/12/07 Patterson At some point, the rants become tedious and lose their inherent creepiness.Way too overdone 3 stars
3/07/07 Stanley Thai A very good and disturbing film. 4 stars
1/18/07 MP Bartley Has its moments but too studied, overwritten and overdeliberate to be truly provocative. 3 stars
1/01/07 Maggie Wow. A must-see. 5 stars
12/27/06 Agent Sands Amongst the top form of comeuppance films, torture endurance films, & battle of wits films. 5 stars
12/23/06 K. Sear Wow, there is actually such a thing as a movie that desperately NEEDS a twist ending. 1 stars
12/21/06 ALDO FINALLy A CURE for pediphiles...They will never look at children the same way again 5 stars
12/15/06 T. McGregor This had me squirming in my seat. Fantastic performance from Ellen Paige. 4 stars
12/09/06 malcolm vague; hard for me to believe a 14 y/o can be that malicious and conniving 3 stars
11/30/06 Joanie incredible 5 stars
11/20/06 Carson This movie is brillant. Ellan Page is going to be huge. 5 stars
11/19/06 Bevan It's intense for the most part and against the conventions of most mainstream films 4 stars
11/16/06 Elveran A movie about two disturbed people. And a pointless story about how cool torture is. 1 stars
11/14/06 chelsea wow i can't really find words to describe it wow 5 stars
11/09/06 DarkEnchantress it sucked! Im into blood and thrillers, but this just was not worth shit! 2 stars
11/09/06 Bitchflaps Redundant offal masquerading as a "provocative psychological thriller" *yawn* 1 stars
11/07/06 Indrid Cold I'm ashamed to admit it, but Ellen Page is freaking adorable. 4 stars
11/02/06 Dissappointed Castration didnt happen! WORST ENDING EVER! NOT JUSTIFIED/VERIFIED! Missed chance 2B Great! 1 stars
11/01/06 TeenGuy My fav. movie EVER, makes me wanna do it... 5 stars
10/31/06 ES Good watch, but I can see Ellen Page getting on audiences' nerves rather quickly 4 stars
10/20/06 Henry Una excelente película que incomoda, particularmente a nosotros los hombres 5 stars
10/13/06 lauren I really didn't know how to think but it left me thinking for hours 4 stars
10/12/06 Yazzluv I thought it was pretty good...I loved the color palet and the dialog 4 stars
10/10/06 Danny Intense. Very intense indeed. 4 stars
10/09/06 peta press Hate to state the obvious; this is a Nazi film, anti-paedophile instead of anti-semitic!! 5 stars
10/08/06 Giselle ortiz Exelente 1 stars
10/02/06 Drdanny If it makes you squirm, it's doing its job. 4 stars
9/25/06 Rich Very well executed, thought provoking twists and turns that keep you unbalanced. 4 stars
9/22/06 Joe K One to get you talking. Maybe it shows what should happen to all pervs? Loved it! 5 stars
9/20/06 action movie fan intense and scary--haylaey is the predator-- 5 stars
9/17/06 Oilfinger Preposterous sadistic rubbish, utterly unbelievable, with a miracle recovery that reeks 1 stars
9/17/06 Duncan Wrong issue to use for a cheap thriller.... 1 stars
8/13/06 Brian O'Neill Extremely original thriller/horror film with two brilliant performances. Forget Saw II. 5 stars
8/01/06 Jimmy0h I was in a cold sweat!!! 5 stars
7/30/06 c0oki3z Weird but okay.. 4 stars
7/04/06 mike b excruciatingly engrossing 5 stars
6/22/06 vicki Its total crap 1 stars
6/18/06 Don Paco A glorification of torture for the PC crowd: torturing is OK, as long as it's done by girls 1 stars
6/05/06 mary this movie is too boring to be disturbing and too much suspension of belief is required. 1 stars
6/03/06 San Lamar oh my god 5 stars
5/06/06 martha philpotts tremendously thought provoking 5 stars
5/02/06 Ole Man Bourbon Amusing at times, but not much to it. 3 stars
5/02/06 David Awful-- awful boring that is. Could have been done in about five minutes max. 1 stars
4/29/06 Sabrina Unsatisfying and insults the audiences intelligence 2 stars
4/28/06 Kenneth D. Robin this may be one of the worse movies that I have ever seen. It makes very little sense 1 stars
4/25/06 brendan can someone tell todd the word is 'penchant' not pension. using it twice irritates 3 stars
4/23/06 Mase Orignial daring filmmaking. A movie to squirm to and think about 5 stars
4/14/06 Ronald Pottol intense! 5 stars
4/13/06 Roldan Din Pretentious! Pseudo-intellectual at its peak! 2 stars
3/29/06 Jennifer nelson incredible 5 stars
4/12/05 Elliot Brilliant and compelling 5 stars
2/08/05 J. Cantor A MUST SEE! 5 stars
1/24/05 Chris Gonsalves Freaky N' Cool 5 stars
12/14/04 SANJA EXELENT WRITER 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  14-Apr-2006 (R)
  DVD: 19-Sep-2006

UK
  16-Jun-2006 (18)

Australia
  13-Jul-2006 (R)



[trailer] Trailer


Directed by
  David Slade

Written by
  Brian Nelson

Cast
  Patrick Wilson
  Ellen Page
  Sandra Oh
  Jennifer Holmes



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast