Hard Candy (2006)



Critic Consensus: Disturbing, controversial, but entirely engrossing, Hard Candy is well written with strong lead performances, especially that of newcomer Ellen Page. A movie that stays with the viewer long after leaving the theater.

Movie Info

A teenage girl agrees to meet a thirtysomething fashion photographer in person after becoming acquainted with him in an online chat room, and the resulting encounter finds the line between predator and prey slipping slowly out of focus in director David Slade's provocative and topical thriller. Hayley (Ellen Page) is a 14-year-old teen whose emotional maturity seems to betray her tender age. Jeff (Patrick Wilson) is a potential child predator whose intentions toward his young chat buddy seem … More

Rating: R (for disturbing violent and aberrant sexual content involving a teen, and for language)
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Brian Nelson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 19, 2006
Box Office: $1.0M
Lions Gate Films - Official Site


as Hayley Stark

as Jeff Kohlver

as Judy Tokuda

as Janelle Rogers

as Nighthawks Clerk

as Nighthawks Clerk
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Critic Reviews for Hard Candy

All Critics (139) | Top Critics (39)

Personally, I'd rather have this movie obliterated from my memory.

Full Review… | November 15, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Packaged in an increasingly lurid, credibility-free storyline, delivered with unstinting insensitivity by a first-time director determined to show off his ad-man's box of visual tics.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One of the more original and grueling films to come out in years and I loved it...

Full Review… | March 30, 2010
Cinema Crazed

Slick slime wrapped as a high-toned, girl-power shocker

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

Wilson and Page are compelling and Slade demonstrates a slick stylistic flair, but the over over-the-top shock pandering renders the dark lesson convoluted and hard to swallow.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Boston Phoenix

British director David Slade announces himself as a master of economy and discrimination by leaving the horror to the audience's imagination. This movie will make you squirm like you've never squirmed before.

Full Review… | April 15, 2009

Audience Reviews for Hard Candy

Ellen Page (Juno) puts on what must be one of the greatest performances ive ever seen. This movie is amazing and after seeing this and Juno I can safely say Ellen Page will be an incredible actress for a long time to come. This creepy tables turned thrill er is top notch from writing to directing to acting. The leads sizzle throughout this movie and when it all comes to an end you are left with a stomcach full of rattled nerves. Wonderful, top notch. must see

John Manard

Super Reviewer

Riveting mix of a thriller, revenge film and psychologically horror film, Hard Candy features a brilliant tour de force performance by Ellen Paige who tries to uncover a guy's dirty secret that he is in fact a pedophile. The film steadily builds up the tension, and in turn you cannot simply look away, and it dares you not to. Brilliant in its performances, Ellen Paige and actor Patrick Wilson have great chemistry on-screen, and it makes for a truly unique and ultimately terrifying ride. Hard Candy mixes different genres into film, and it succeeds at delivering a top notch thriller that combines plenty of other elements to really add depth to the story. Viewers looking for a well acted and directed thriller will surely want to see this, and with some strong performances here, it elevates the simple story even further and makes for a truly riveting, edge of your seat cat and mouse game. This was director David Slade's directorial debut, and with that being said, it's a well crafted picture that uses a simple story and proves that you can accomplish so much while using so little. Hard Candy is a riveting, disturbing film that like I said mixes other genres into film and it successfully does while not overdoing anything in the process. Ellen Paige has made some great films over the course of her career, but I would rank this as one of her best, and she just commands the screen with her presence and she makes this film a compelling, intense and unforgettable viewing experience. I really liked the film, and thought it was a smartly crafted film that will make you uncomfortable from the first frame onwards. Truly a one of a kind thriller that is nail biting solidly paced entertainment.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

In every Ellen Page film I have seen, her character is an infuriatingly smug, precocious, androgynous pain in the arse, and 'Hard Candy' is no different. In fact, it's worse, her painfully irritating screen presence is accentuated by her total dominance in the film, she's even more unbearable than she was in the ironically titled 'Super'. When I realised her performance was going in this familiar loathsome direction, I almost stopped watching it, but I found the strength to continue.

It started strongly, the first 20 minutes of 'Hard Candy' are genuinely creepy and unsettling, mostly because of the ambiguity of the situation. It's also here that Ellen Page is actually very good, she's natural and only adds to the tension, she can give likeable performances after all. However, it swiftly descends into a stressful, frustrating ordeal of a film. My main problem with it was that throughout Hayley's antagonisation of Jeff, he isn't a confirmed paedophile or threat. Jeff is actually a character one can empathise with. He's clearly morally dubious, he has crossed the line in his contact with Hayley, but he seems to realise this - 'Look. I've been lonely, okay? And that makes me stupid, but I am not a paedophile.'
Is Jeff saying that as a way out? What were his intentions before things turned against him? I didn't know, but his innocence seemed credible, which made the majority of the film seem to be unjustified, sadistic torture committed by an irrational, evil and maddeningly arrogant psychopath.

Another of the film's problems is straightforward implausibility. 5ft 1 Ellen Page, who looks like she must weigh under 100lbs, somehow gets Patrick Wilson in all sorts of predicaments which are simply impossible. They can just about convince us of her dexterity with rope, but not that she can support Wilson's bodyweight to such a laughable extent. 'Hard Candy' is another film spoilt by how irritating Ellen Page is, but it also has several narrative issues which bang the final nail in the coffin.

Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins

Super Reviewer

Hard Candy Quotes

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– Submitted by Jonah R (2 years ago)
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– Submitted by Nana-Marla E (2 years ago)

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