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3.6 out of 5 stars123
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 12 January 2015
Hard Candy is a 2005 provocative thriller film focusing on the interaction between 14 year old Thonggrrrl14 Hayley Stark (Ellen Page) and 32 year old Lensman319 Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson).
The film opens with an openly flirtatious online chat between Thonggrrrl14 and Lensman319 and in which the assertive Hayley soon convinces the eager Lensman319 to meet at a café to "hook up" after he admits to fantasising about her. At the café, Hayley suddenly comes across as shy and insecure but almost immediately openly flirts with the much older Jeff even making several references to her age (14 years old) and the fact they have only been chatting for three weeks, while Jeff generally restrains himself its obvious he's more than interested, even admitting that he must wait four years before he can be with her. Despite all this sparring between the two, Jeff reluctantly agrees to take the insistent Hayley back to his house on the cities outskirts. I won’t go into any more details other than to say the film isn’t what you expect.
The acting between the two characters is superb and the clever script makes things seem rather innocuous at first, but as the film advances you rapidly become aware of the subtleties of the wording and emphasis. Despite realising there is something not quite right with both characters, it’s difficult to tell who is the player and who the victim really is. Then the pace changes and the plot takes one of its numerous twists and turns. This is what keeps this film riveting, that clever script and that interaction between the two characters, for despite a couple of minutes, Hayley and Jeff are the only two on screen and its almost entirely set in 2-3 rooms of Jeffs plush house.
The disc loads to a 2 minute film trailer then cuts to the main title screen offering play, set up [5.1 or 2.0 -with subtitle options], scene selection and special features [mainly audio commentaries, deleted scenes]. A word of WARNING, once you go into ‘set up’ look away from the screen as a number of ‘stills’ flash rapidly on screen and give much of the plot away. My advice is to just hit play. Rated at 18 [for obvious reasons once you’ve seen it] it actually doesn’t contain much swearing 2-3 instances], no nudity and hardly any visual violence –which some might expect, yet the film is all the stronger for that as it reinforces the clever writing and uses your own imagination to fill in the blanks.
This is a very disturbing film on many levels but despite some dialogue appearing to be a bit advanced for a 14 year old, it remains unsettling. The film lost a few stars here and there, but picked them up in other places so remains a more than a four star getting a deserving ***** rating.
If you’re looking for a visual extravaganza, jumpy moments, a gore fest, or even mild nudity –you’ll be left feeling ripped off, but if it’s good acting and thought provoking dialogue you want, then this is definitely worth a watch.
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on 20 October 2014
‘Hard Candy’ is a kind of ‘cat and mouse’ tale in the most traditional of ways. You may think that a story about – effectively – a young, skinny fourteen-year-old girl versus a fully-grown healthy man might be a little one-sided. However, you obviously haven’t seen how Ellen Page plays it.

A successful photographer (Patrick Wilson) has a weakness for chatting up underage girls over the internet. Yet he gets more than he bargained for when he finally gets round to meeting Ellen Page’s character, ‘Hayley,’ For she takes it upon herself to perform a little adolescent vigilante justice upon him.

Like I said... you may think that there’s not an awful lot a teenager can do to a man. But then if I told you the specifics of what transpires, I’d be spoiling it for you. All I’ll say is that the balance of power shifts and then shifts again between the two as their own private little war ensues.

There’s really only the two characters in the film, therefore it’s up to Page and Wilson to shoulder the film’s burden. And they do it pretty well. Both characters are a pair of sad and damaged individuals and one of the film’s many strengths is that it makes it hard for the audience to tell who’s the guilty party – if there is one at all.

It’s not an easy watch. You have to be ready for a pretty dark and bleak drama with some really nasty moments. One thing’s for sure... this ain’t no ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ tale.
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on 1 November 2014
'Hard Candy' is one of my favourite films. Given the subject, this might sound strange. Nevertheless, my love of this film stems from its ability to challenge the prejudice of its audience.

Ellen Page plays Hayley Stark, a teenage girl who chats with a man called Jeff online. They arrange to meet in a coffee shop in Los Angeles. From the moment Jeff enters the shop, the audience knows that something is wrong. Jeff is ... peculiar. In the hands of lesser creators, the film would play out predictably. Fortunately, 'Hard Candy' is more complex.

During the film, the audience learns that Hayley has been stalking Jeff. She believes him guilty of the murder of Donna Mauer, whose body was found in the city. Having tied Jeff to a chair, Hayley begins to search his house and to interrogate the captive. What the audience comes to learn about both characters is unsettling and utterly engaging.

More impressive than the subversion of the tabloid tale is that the filmmakers cram so much material into ninety minutes. Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson flesh out the film with sterling performances, perhaps the best that they have given. Furthermore, the audience can never be certain who they should support. Events of the film reveal that each character is as twisted as the other.

If you love horror fiction, if you love complex drama, and if you want to ride an emotional rollercoaster, you cannot go wrong with 'Hard Candy'.
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on 14 September 2014
LOVED this film.

The main character is a mysterious young girl named Hayley Stark who is a metaphorical bear trap for pedophiles. She passes time making a hobby out of her calling to expose them and gives them what's coming to them.

Although it's an 18 certificate, it teaches a lot of cold, hard lessons about how pedophiles work. Young girls need to see this.

"Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman, does NOT mean she's ready to do what a woman does. I mean, you're the grown up here. If a kid is experimenting and says something flirtatious, you ignore it, you don't encourage it. If a kid says 'Heeey, let's make screwdrivers' you take the alcohol away and you don't race them to the next drink!"

Great, tense, thought-provoking film. Ellen is phenomenal, as always.
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on 3 January 2015
Jeff (Patrick Wilson) takes photos of under aged teen girl models for a living. He claims to be a professional and not cross the line. He meets 14 year old Haley (Ellen Page) on line, a girl overly mature and intelligent for her age. She convinces him to take her to his house for a photo shoot. The next thing you know, Jeff is tied to a chair with Haley making accusations about his possible misdeeds involving a missing girl.

This film has the feel of an old fashion home break-in...you know the B-movies where the girls jump on the bed and ransack the house. This film takes the B movie to a higher level. Okay, pedophiles are bad, but the film started to get dragged down at making the point. They needed a longer build up and less end game antics. I also think the film would have been better if it had starred Chris Hansen instead of Patrick Wilson.

Guide: F-bomb. No sex or nudity. Adult themes.
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Jeff, a talented but lecherous photographer with a penchant for underage girls lets himself get talked into meeting with a young fourteen year old girl with a nervous but worldly attitude to the world.

At first, her agreement to go to his house leaves Jeff thinking the ball is completely in his court, but things begin to quickly go south when he learns that Hailey is not who she seemed to be and that he may have stepped into a trap.

A darkly disturbing but clever twist is what really makes the movie, and it's definately one that will have you gripping the edge of your seat (and guys possibly wincing while crossing their legs). Incredible movie carried completely by Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson with only a vague cameo by Sandra Oh.

Ellen Page is fantastic at playing a child despite her age of 18 at the time (really sucking you into the initial innocence), and Patrick Wilson is believable enough to leave you somewhat sympathetic despite the story.
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on 13 April 2015
EVIL. Pure unadulterated evil.

The storyline:
A disturbed, young 14 yr old girl meets a 32 yr old man online, believing he is a paedophile, she agrees to meet him and convinces him to take her to his place where she drugs him, ties him to a chair, and ransacks his home in her search for proof, but after finding no proof and no stash of any porn and after getting knocked out during an escape attempt, during which he gets a hold of a gun, she comes up behind him, and suffocates him with clingfilm till he blacks out, then when he wakes it's to find himself tied spread eagle to a table...where she then proceeds to numb his privates before shaving and castrating him..

A very evil film that makes you wonder who the victim is...until about 10 minutes from the end when it becomes clear... have to say the two main actors Ellen page and Patrick Wilson both played their parts extremely well, they had me believing till the last 10 mins that he was the victim and she was a psychopath that was hurting an innocent man... if you can get past the cringe worthy castration part of the film and are looking for a good psychological thriller/ horror then check this film out... however for me, I have to say it's a little too disturbing (due no doubt to the great acting) hence the 2 stars.
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on 3 January 2015
Brilliant! Unsettling and difficult to watch in places - yes. But still brilliant. I watched this without knowing anything about the film and spent the first 15 minutes saying "no, don't" and thinking it could be my daughter. Then things don't turn out quite the way you expected.

Ellen Page is incredible - OK she was probably nearer 18 than the 14 years of her character, but it's a tough role for a young actress, and Patrick Wilson is very convincing and ambiguous. How much is he just saying and what does he really think?

It wasn't perfect - probably just a bit too long and the cineamatography (for exapmple of Jeff tied to the table as he was repeatedly circled) was a bit odd at times - but the acting was great (did I say that?), the colour was dramatic, the tension high and the humour as black as can be.

Recommended for anyone who likes movies that make you think and doesn't need all the answers served up.

But in the end, I don't think it could have been my daughter (you'll be glad to hear).
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on 26 May 2014
Super performances from both Page and Wilson, they work really well together. This is a great, tense thriller that will have you thinking back and forth, questioning your moral. I actually watched this one twice in a row I was so impressed with it. I think I was in a bit of shock by the time the whole thing was over. This only happens with a very few handful of movies. I didn't want to do ANYTHING else but to experience the movie again straight away. I love Patrick Wilson's character here, he is very impressive. This was the first Ellen Page movie I had seen and she absolutely owns this movie - she's just so damn good in this movie and takes no prisoners...Full stars.

buy this and add it to your collection.
Its fantastic.
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One of my favourite (recent) films is 'V for Vendetta' which is about a terrorist murderer with whom the audience are invited to empathise and sympathise. This is one of the few aspects of that film which I dislike; it's too obvious.

Unless I missed something, this film attempts to invoke the same emotions.

But rather than terrorism being the taboo subject, it's paedophilia.
For me, just like incest, I find it relatively boring(!)

This could have made an interesting short story in one of those films made-up of several separate tales, but as a feature-length job I found it a tad uninteresting. Having clocked the plot, I couldn't really even find anything interesting to LOOK at.

Dull, boring.
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