Hard Candy (2005)
Where is Dateline’s Chris Hansen when you need him? For three weeks a 32-year-old man named Jeff has been chatting online with a 14-year-old named Haley (Ellen Page). They finally decide to meet up at a coffee shop and the creepy old dude doesn’t seem all that creepy; he is a well-off professional photographer, and Haley appears to be smitten. She convinces Jeff to take her home for who knows what, and the perv jumps at the chance. Once there they have a few drinks and Jeff blacks out. Was he just drunk under the table by a little girl, or was he drugged? Spoiler Alert: he was drugged… and he wakes to find himself bound to a chair. Our sweet Haley has a problem with older guys taking advantage of young girls, and it seems our pedophile friend tried to hook up with the wrong chick.
We discover that Jeff is still in love with his ex-girlfriend in a creepy way, and Haley uses that as leverage against him: all he has to do is kill himself, and she (along with the rest of the world) will never know what a sick fuck he really is. All the while he pleads his innocence, even when threatened with castration. Will Jeff spill the truth about his actions or will he just spill some blood and his testicles? To what lengths will Haley go to get this guy to admit to an act she is positive he has committed? You will have to watch to find out, and you will probably never be able to look at Ellen Page the same way again.
Alex’s Thoughts: Ho-ly shit… this thing is disturbing. It is a sensitive subject matter, but the movie would have the same effect on me no matter what the alleged crime. The lengths that Haley is willing to go to expose this creep and to try and get him to fess up to a crime you, as the viewer, are never sure he even committed; is so very disturbing. I always thought that Ellen Page was sort of an over-rated actress, I mean I like her stuff, but never thought she was great. Now I do. Her over the top persona and her character’s meticulous planning and sheer will won me over within the first half hour of this thing. I really liked the movie, and there was enough suspense and this vague sense of not knowing who the real sicko is. If you like thrillers this is one for you. Alex Rates This Movie 8/10
Tim’s Thoughts: When this came out there was a huge controversy regarding what Ellen Page’s character does, frankly I think it’s overblown. The things she does in this movie are pretty disturbing, but no where near some of the other things we have reviewed on this blog. With the exception of some preachy bits, Hard Candy will keep your attention, and guessing. Not until the very end (I had my suspicions) do you really find out what is going on, and even then it’s a bit vague, but I think that is a positive. My main complaint on this movie is one that I have about a lot of movies, this is too long. It really needed to be about 15-20 minutes shorter. I was getting bored with the ongoing cat and mouse, and while the payoff is interesting, I don’t know that it’s rewarding. I still like this movie, and think anyone who can stomach the content (most of it is implied, which is almost worse,) will enjoy this immensely, but when you watch several movies a week, sometimes day, you start to get annoyed/bored when things lag a bit. Excellent acting all around and a pretty suspenseful watch, but once was more than enough. Tim Rates This Movie 7/10