The Woodsman (2004)



Critic Consensus: Kevin Bacon's performance as a pedophile who is trying to start fresh has drawn raves from critics, who have praised the Woodsman as compelling, creepy, complex and well-crafted.

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After twelve years in prison, Walter arrives in an unnamed city, moves into a small apartment across the street from an elementary school, gets a job at a lumberyard, and mostly keeps to himself. A quiet, guarded man, Walter finds unexpected solace from Vickie, a tough-talking woman who promises not to judge him for his history. But Walter cannot escape his past. A convicted sex offender, Walter is warily eyed by his brother-in-law, shunned by his sister, lives in fear of being discovered at work, and is hounded by a suspicious local police officer, Detective Lucas. After befriending a young girl in a neighborhood park, Walter must also grapple with the terrible prospect of his own reawakened demons.
R (for sexuality, disturbing behavior and language)
Directed By:
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Kevin Bacon
as Walter
Kyra Sedgwick
as Vickie
Yasiin Bey
as Sgt. Lucas
as Mary-Kay
Kevin Rice
as Candy
Jessica Nagle
as Annette
Liam Daniels
as Boy at Playground
Joey Hazinsky
as Cherub
Clara Infinity Daniels
as Little Girl on Bus
Ashley C. Coombs
as Girl on Bus
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News & Interviews for The Woodsman

Critic Reviews for The Woodsman

All Critics (130) | Top Critics (36)

A lean and unapologetic piece about a type of person too often rendered in simplistic 'monster' colors.

April 8, 2005
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

[Ms. Kassell and Mr. Fechter] trick up Walter's character with so many conflicting moods and impulses and then place him within a post-prison society that is itself alternately oppressive and permissive.

Full Review… | January 27, 2005
New York Observer
Top Critic

An involving, intense but ultimately confused portrait.

Full Review… | January 21, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

To watch this picture is to feel, and what you're feeling is an intense swirl of conflicting emotions -- disturbed, creeped-out, sorry, and, yes, even moved.

Full Review… | January 21, 2005
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A flawed film that's well worth seeing.

January 21, 2005
Detroit News
Top Critic

It is both difficult to watch and compelling.

Full Review… | January 21, 2005
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Woodsman

A child molester adjusts to post-prison life and falls in love with a co-worker. I applaud Kevin Bacon's choice because this is a ballsy role for a star whose paychecks are secure, but his performance, which is meant to be subtle and aching, comes off like he's squeezing too hard. The film doesn't make Bacon's Walter a particularly admirable character nor is he someone we might love to hate. Instead, the film's central conflict is about getting Walter to realize the depravity of his own desires, which he does along the way, but his realization doesn't become actionable until the climactic scene. It's an interesting source for conflict, but it doesn't carry a lot of suspense. Overall, though the film is admirable in its attempt, I wasn't too compelled by the final product.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Kevin Bacon, not a name usually dropped in conversations about great actors, delivers a tightfisted, bravura performance in this conventionally unconventional tale about a child molester's attempt at societal rehabilitation. Kyra Sedgwick is more than able support as the woman who loves him. It's often difficult to watch, so be warned.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Slow and understated, probably to show the struggles of a very troubled soul, this film offers much to contemplate. There are no easy answers in an issue like the sexual abuse of children, and yet who is good and who is evil is not so clear here in this picture. The one thing that is clear, however, is Kevin Bacon's performance. He played his role beautifully. DIsturbing, yet eye opening film.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

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