Review: Hard Candy (2005)
Watch the trailer , HARD CANDY
*** This contains spoilers ***
Hard Candy is a surprisingly disturbing film driven solely by two characters. The acting prowess it takes to engage an audience with two people on the screen is a challenge and it is done here with skill and creativity. Haley portrayed by Ellen Page (Juno), plays with her target with such precision, as to imply that she had done her homework, knew for certain the targets guilt and carried out her plan with no intention of failing. This is a calculated young girl and she anticipates every plea from her “victim” with intelligent and shrewd humor. She knows him, she has waited to enact this revenge and her age (14) means nothing if in fact she had suffered the loss of a sibling and had to endure the monstrous reality of pedophilia and sadistic torture and murder.
This is no innocent child but a young girl who needs to avenge a wrong no matter what the cost. Her “victim” is portrayed by Patrick Wilson ( Little Children) and he has the thankless task of playing a disturbingly cunning and ultimately sick pedophilic predator. His ability to garner any sympathy at all is a testament to his skill as an actor, and he is poised to have a successful acting career in Hollywood. The audience is not spoon fed in this film leaving it open to interpretation. Ultimately it works because the subject matter is taboo and the performances inspired. I will add here that I did not think that this 14 year old was on a “random” vigilante mission. Rather her strength and resolve seem to come from an intimate knowledge of the pedophiles victim (perhaps a friend or sister). I thought Ellen Page was the new kid in town after seeing this no holds barred performance, and now three years later she proved me right. This is a film that showcases her in a completely different light, and demonstrates range and longevity as an actor. Not for the squeamish, but a definite independent triumph.
Copyright ©2007 Veronica Romm