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Hard Candy

7/10
Crime . Thriller . Drama
 

A mature 14-year old girl meets a charming 32-year old photographer on the Internet. Suspecting that he is a pedophile, she goes to his home in an attempt to expose him.

 
Actors: G.J. Echternkamp , Odessa Rae , Sandra Oh , Ellen Page , Patrick Wilson
Directors: David Slade
Country: USA
Release: 2006-04-28
More Info:
  • Eric Campos

    A tough sit, but it attracts more than repels you. It commands your attention. Once it lands its hooks in you, there's no tearing away.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Rob Nelson

    A film that forges identification with its victimized heroine like none I've seen in decades. (The Nova Scotia–born Page, a Molly Ringwald type who was only 15 when the movie was made, leaves little doubt as to whether a kid can play a grown-up's icky game and win.)

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Michael Rechtshaffen

    To pull this kind of thing off you need exceptional performances, and the two leads rise commandingly to the challenge. Wilson, best known for his work in the screen version of "The Phantom of the Opera" and HBO's "Angels in America," keeps his true colors effectively muted throughout the bulk of their face-off, but it is Page who astonishes.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    These are two fascinating characters, and watching them thrust and parry proves to be as impossible to turn away from as observing a grotesque roadside accident.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Mike Clark

    Hard Candy, a highly original psychological thriller/revenge fantasy, can be bitterly hard to take and uncomfortably intense, but it's well worth consuming.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    Hard Candy is impressive and effective. As for what else it may be, each audience member will have to decide.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    The film was reputedly inspired by Japanese teens who trolled chat rooms to find predators, made assignments, then ganged up to beat offending adults.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Hard Candy is extreme - a battle of the sexes that glides from tricky to angry to shockingly ugly.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • M. E. Russell

    Despite the hot-button pedophilic story hook (I'm surprised Jeff and Hayley didn't meet on MySpace.com), Hard Candy ultimately beats with the heart of a stagier, more complicated psychological revenge picture along the lines of Roman Polanski's "Death and the Maiden."

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Caroline Westbrook

    It's not always easy viewing, but Hard Candy is an intelligent, challenging film which deserves to be seen.

    Empire Full Review
  • Jami Bernard

    A psychosexual thriller that treads a thin line between art and exploitation. The mere fact that it manages this queasy high-wire act is what sets debut director David Slade's slick mind game apart from the drooling pack.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    The prize for most sick-making movie I've ever seen goes to . . . that Driver's Ed film I saw when I was 16. The psychological thriller Hard Candy is right up there, though. I didn't know whether to applaud or barf.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    Inspired by accounts of underage vigilante girls in Japan turning the tables on Internet predators, playwright Brian Nelson's schematic tale of the hunter captured by the game, a queasy blend of exploitation-movie nastiness and blunt moral lesson.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Winda Benedetti

    Hard Candy is not perfect, but it is a provocative piece of filmmaking with a dark and daring heart that makes it worth seeing.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Hard Candy not only trips along a tightrope line between exploitation and art; in some ways, that line is its subject.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    The most extreme English-language studio release I've seen in years.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    A spectacular performance by teenage thesp Ellen Page elevates this disturbing slice of designer shocksploitation into a film that's impossible to dismiss on principle.

    Variety Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    To give the film its due, the direction is expert, the writing is shrewd, the cinematography is stylish, and the performances are extraordinary... Hard Candy is also sadistic in its own right, relentlessly ugly, entirely heartless and eventually unendurable. It's torture.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    Hard Candy is the rare movie that may be worthiest for the arguments you'll have after it's over.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    The more things drag on, the more monotonous they become and, by the end, Hard Candy has devolved into a rather transparent game of one-upmanship in which Hayley and Jeff come across in almost equally repellent measure, their behaviors driven less by organic impulses than by their need to satisfy the script's elaborate series of reversals and counter-reversals.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    Had they ended 20 minutes in, "Wedding Crashers" would qualify as a gut-busting triumph, and Hard Candy would be a miniature masterpiece.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Gene Seymour

    As gripping as Hard Candy is, one can't quite shake the feeling that we're the ones being exploited by its mordant blend of kinky revenge fantasy and push-me-pull-you moral vision.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    It takes creepy, spooky, and altogether ooky to a hideous new level.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Kevin Crust

    Maddeningly exploitative, the film takes a provocative subject -- pedophilia -- and wraps it in a sterile, vacuum-sealed package, devoid of meaning.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    High-minded sleaze, the film deceives you with its first 10 minutes, which are interestingly creepy.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Icky, incoherent thriller.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    During the ensuing narrative unpleasantness and visual incoherence (meaningless choker close-ups, pointless slow motion), Hayley subjects Jeff to a range of torture, all in the name of, well, what? Despite the two fine performances, it's hard to say.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    Though Hard Candy clearly believes pedophiles should be chopped into little pieces and buried in an unmarked grave, its only purpose is exploitative. Sure, it's a cautionary tale for all those sicko wolves out there, but it's nothing more than an unabashed lurk-and-dread fest.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    With Hard Candy, the innocent are tortured along with the guilty -- the innocent, in this case, being the audience.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    Tautly directed by David Slade, this drama probably offers more sadism than anyone could possibly want...The characters are absurd, but if you're up for this sort of thing, then surely you can con yourself into accepting them. Personally, I'd rather have this movie obliterated from my memory.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
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