Hard Candy Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 29, 2008
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
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2014
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.
Jack Hawkins
Super Reviewer
August 8, 2012
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.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
September 20, 2012
For a debut film, its one of best I've seen. Director David Slade shows off his skills with one of the most unusual films of 2005. There are challenging scenes and begs the audience to question whether Ellen Page's actions are justified. A great film that pits two great actors against each other in an odd story of Cat versus Mouse.
Super Reviewer
December 26, 2011
This movie is disturbing and often fascinating. Ellen Page really holds things together in a great, terrifying early performance. Considering there are basically only two characters in the film (the other played formidably by Patrick Wilson), they do a great job of keeping the dialogue tense. However, Hard Candy too often finds itself on the edge of believability; there is a distinct lack of explanation that leads many of the events that occur to seem highly unrealistic. I couldn't buy a lot of the movie, and it also made me cringe quite a lot, two things I can't really forgive the movie for easily. Still, I can't really blame the movie for being uncomfortable given that is the point of it, and Ellen Page is certainly talented enough that any fans of hers who don't mind sitting through some horrifying scenes might want to give this a try.
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2009
Loved IT!!!!!!!!!!
Arabella R.
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2011
A hardcore film showing Ellen Page's early promise. Perhaps unnecessarily gory at parts but a great psychological thriller none the less.
Super Reviewer
½ September 10, 2011
Ellen Page satisfies with a chilling performance in a mission for truth and justice against a suspected pedophile in Hard Candy. A high tension, controversial work that obscures the bounds of morality.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2011
I found it enterteining enough to keep me watching the whole 1:45hrs. I liked the close-ups again and again and again. Keeps you on the edge of feeling that privacy and claustrophobic atmosphere with an disturbed person...jeez. so good for the camera man, the story and both actors did a good job. In lack of better options for suspense movies I'll recommend it.
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2010
Strangers shouldn't talk to little girls.

Very good film! Very wicked I liked it. Great acting by both Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson, two thumbs up! The story was excellent. I had mixed feeling during the movie thinking of which side to pick on but I just let it go and just watch it developed. Loved the ending.

For three weeks, 14-year-old Hayley Stark has been chatting on-line with 'Lensmaster319', a 32-year old fashion photographer, named Jeff. The two agree to meet at a coffee shop called Nighthawks. They hit it off, despite the massive age difference. Hayley appears to flirt with Jeff, and Jeff generally restrains himself, even admitting that he must wait 4-years until he can be with her. But his reservations are apparently not enough to decline when Hayley all but invites herself over to his house. Once at the house, manipulation becomes the name of the game, and the pedophile seems to be on the non-traditional side of it.
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2007
I quite liked this movie, i like the originality of the script and the storyline.
I like the way that at first you instantly know that Patrick WIlsons character is guilty of some sort of child abuse as he's meeting a 14yr old, however then you are introduced to this other side of Ellen Page's character. She is suddenly this revenge seeking vegilate that you get the impression that she's doing it on behalf of a missing friend.
Its a great psychological thriller however i like answer to my questions, i like to know backgrounds to characters that im introduced too.
You arent given any information onto ellen pages character apart from the fact that she is probably insane maybe due to child abuse herself as you find something about the fact her parents dont seem to be on the scene much, but you arent given any indepth information about her character leaving unanswered questions and your just left with speculation.
Other than that i like the originality of the movie, i love the way she manipulates her subjects into doing what she says. Its worth a watch.
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2011
Weird yet nothing but empathy for Ellen Pages character. Both actors/actresses played there part exceptionally.
Super Reviewer
January 19, 2008
Liked this movie slightly less on a re-watch. I never realised the first time how much this girl totally manipulated the whole situation! First time I watched it, I was very sympathetic to her, and really felt she was being preyed on, second time, not so sure!
This is an excellent role for Ellen Page. She manages to be vulnerable and then scary all within a very short space of time. Where this movie works is that it does make you seriously question who is in the wrong, and it does get to be a pretty grey area by the time "Hayley" has finished!
Most of the time it is just Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson in a room, so it is to both their credits that this film does not become boring or drag in pace.
The thing most frustrating, especially on the re-watch is that it doesn't answer enough questions for my liking by the end. But maybe that is my own failing for wanting everything spelled out. Maybe Hayley was just psychotic, I guess it doesn't really matter.
Super Reviewer
½ April 19, 2011
When it comes down to first time directors, there is a lot of tension that is built around them: Being this is their first film, the results of how well the film does will decide the outcome of their career. For David Slade, his first film explodes on screen and never releases you. It grabs you, holds you in the tension, and refuses to release you. Now, the script to this film, based on some real events, is beyond tight, well written, and feels real. The story that this film presents does get under your skin, and shockingly enough, you start getting confused as to whom it is that you should be rooting for to survive: The girl that tortures the man, or the pedophile that is being tortured. The acting in this film is beyond great. Mostly for actress Ellen Page as she plays a fourteen year old psychopath Hell bent on torturing this man. Word of advice: NEVER cross her path while she is in this character. The direction of this film is fast paced, straight to the point, and also rather simple. Now, there is relatively no score to this film other then the breathing and whimpering of two of the six characters in this film. Now, sense I brought this up, an interesting point to make is that, for the most part, there are only two actors that we see and the chemistry between them is just, really worked out and why they were not nominated for an Oscar is beyond me. Overall, this is a film that you should watch if you like high suspense, films that raise questions, and films that make you think. RECOMMENDED.
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2011
An intense disturbed thriller with a fantastic performance by Ellen Page.
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2010
I can honestly say that this is one of the most unique role reversal story lines I have ever encountered and one that I feel was long overdue for a representation on the big screen. Tackling not only the issues of child abuse and interent grooming, it also tackles a much broader subject of sexual perversion and murder. Ellen Page, the first major movie I saw her in if I recall, plays the fourteen year old heroin/villain with a wonderful grace that only sometimes gives away her real age. A darkly saddening movie that brings to midn thoughts that most would rather pretend did not exist, Hard Candy forces a bitter pill down everyones throat and more to the point, makes you swallow it!
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2010
On the whole, the movie failed to create enough thrills or chills to satisfy me. The movie wasn't as fantastic as Ellen Page's acting performance. She gets a chance to depict several emotions & she grabs that opportunity brilliantly. I don't find 'Hard Candy' recommendable since it's taste was not good enough.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2010
A really smart movie (if you don't know the story before you see it....boy was that a mistake) The good guy is the badguy...the badguy is the good guy....you don't know who to cheer for...the negative part is that it was maybe a little too simply made. Great work by Ellen Page.
Super Reviewer
½ October 24, 2010
The performances by Wilson and Page are just as haunting as the film as a whole. Page isn't even close to Juno in this film; in fact, she's a completely believable bad-ass, able to transition swiftly from an adolescent's attempt at seduction to an unrelenting sadist. There is a moment in Wilson's performance when I almost felt sorry for him, but it was just an hour ago that he was convincing as a creepy pedophile. The film features two budding stars at the top of their game. I only wish I didn't confuse Wilson with Bradley Cooper.
The script is very well written. Throughout most of the film, I was hoping to get to understand Page's character's motivation, but then I realized that the ambiguity was plot-based and intentional.
What Hard Candy accomplishes is a personification and presentation of everything our public discourse says about pedophiles and pedophilia. "Prison isn't bad enough for them." Check. "Castrate them." Check. "Kill them." Check. And our ultimate response to Page's character should reflect our response to these discourses.
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