Hard Candy


Hard Candy

Critics 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.



Reviews Counted: 141

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 105,819


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Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.6/5

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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 less than honorable. After meeting in a coffeehouse and getting to know each other briefly in person, Jeff invites Haley back to his place, and it's not long before Jeff's underage guest is pouring drinks and posing provocatively for an impromptu photo shoot. As the evening's questionable activities take a decidedly sordid slant and the raptorial Jeff appears poised to strike, a sudden turn of events finds that his apparent victim has had a plan of her own from the very beginning. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Ellen Page
as Hayley Stark
Patrick Wilson
as Jeff Kohlver
Sandra Oh
as Judy Tokuda
Jennifer Holmes
as Janelle Rogers
G.J. Echternkamp
as Nighthawks Clerk
John Gilbert
as Nighthawks Clerk
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News & Interviews for Hard Candy

Critic Reviews for Hard Candy

All Critics (141) | Top Critics (40)

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

Nov 15, 2011 | Full Review…

This swamp gets very murky indeed. Bring your moral compass.

Jul 14, 2006 | Full Review…

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.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

It's smart, funny, and surprisingly visually discreet. Some scenes may leave you doubled-up, but the overall effect is, as the saying goes, better than a kick in the balls.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It's well worth seeing, because it is well made -- apart from a few gaps in logic -- and well acted.

Apr 28, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

... a film that gives you something to think about, raising questions that linger long after the theater lights have brightened.

Apr 28, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hard Candy

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
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

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.

paul oh
paul oh

Super Reviewer

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
John Manard

Super Reviewer

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