Hard Candy is simply a great and intense movie. Although it has just two actors, the chemistry (if you can call it like that in the context of the story) between them is amazing. Both Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page became really big stars after this movie. Ellen was 17 during the filming of this intense slow-burner, showing a lot of talent early on. Two years later, she accepted the role of Sylvia Likens in a harrowing drama based on true events An American Crime, cementing her status as a phenomenal actress. Set in one house and featuring two actors, this is a psychological thriller about pedophilia. And not just pedophilia, it’s also about meeting people online and revenge.
In this modern world, running on computers and without hard limits eliminated by technology, meeting people online is just as natural as going to the bathroom. Actually, this movie was inspired by real events that happened in Japan. A young girl would lure older businessmen into hotel rooms only to rob them along with her all-girl gang. Pedophiles in today’s cinema have always been portrayed as these demented killers or sleazy bad guys, without much humanity to them. Patrick Wilson put a friendly face to this monstrosity, showing us the truth: they are here and they are your neighbors. The question is: where do you go from there?
After they met online in one of the chatrooms, Jeff Kohlver and Hayley Stark decide to meet in real life. The only problem is the age difference that will lead to some very violent situations. Hayley is only fourteen.
At this point, I should mention the fact that Hard Candy sometimes comes off as pretentious and too set up. We are certainly aware of the fact that this fourteen-year-old girl could not do all these things. Many people discredited the movie because of these plot holes, but I think the overall moral dilemmas are much more fun to contemplate, so the whole thing can be overlooked. If they added some sort of helper, perhaps an ex-pedophile who has seen the light this would make more sense for everyone, but they didn’t and that’s it. Since this is a character study, try to analyze the behavior of both of our protagonists. I would love to hear some of your comments, just leave them below the review.
Also, the overall plot twists and disturbing subject of the movie provide additional thinking material. With a pretty slow but intense pacing and engaging atmosphere you can’t help but comment and try to predict what’s gonna happen next. Visual style is very clean and vivid, making Hard Candy neat and easy to watch despite the storyline. If you’re looking to continue in the same style I recommend you check out Trust. It deals with some of the same issues raised here but in a much more serious atmosphere. And if you’re looking for thrillers set in a single location I highly recommend The Perfect Host and two outstanding Spanish horror/thrillers Mientras Duermes and El Habitante Incierto. Enjoy.
Director: David Slade
Writer: Brian Nelson
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae, G.J. Echternkamp