Film: Hard Candy
Director: David Slade
Writer: Brian Nelson
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page and Sandra Oh
This film begins with two people chatting with instant messages. We get from these that one is a teenage girl who is struggling to be seen as older and we have a photographer who is clearly interested in the underage girl. They agree to meet up at a local coffee shop.
The girl is played by Ellen Page and the photographer by Patrick Wilson. We get an odd scene to start this off where Page has chocolate on her lips and Wilson wipes it off with his finger. We learn that they have been chatting for three weeks. Page is shocked by Wilson’s appearance because he doesn’t look like a man who needs to meet women online. They chat where we learn that Page’s father is a professor at a local college and she sits in on the classes sometimes. Wilson asks if the students hit on her and she states they don’t, because they are older. There is a scene during this sequence where Page changes into a shirt that Wilson buys her and opens the door to the bathroom, exposing her in a bra first.
They go back to his place and they have screwdrivers. She makes a comment about not taking a drink from someone if they do not pour it themselves. She starts to ask him about the pictures on his wall and about the models he takes pictures off. Wilson does reveal that he did date one of them and that he loved her. They both have another drink and Page asks him to take her picture. She puts on music and takes off her shirt, but Wilson isn’t feeling so well. He passes out.
He wakes up to his worst nightmare. He is tied up and Page starts to accuse him of being a pedophile. He claims that he has been lonely, but he would never touch her as she is only 14. Page then goes on a hunt to find proof of her accusations.
She does find a safe, but she needs the combination. Wilson refuses to give this to her, but Page is much smarter than she looks. Can she figure out the combination before it is too late? Is Wilson a pedophile? Is the proof in the safe? Page has much larger plans for Wilson to prove her point, but she is right? Wilson’s neighbor also sees Page on the room when she is trying to calm down, will this come back to ruin her plan?
The review to this film is quite short, because despite the running time, there are only two settings and most of the film is Page and Wilson bantering back and forth. I have to say that this could be the best performance I’ve ever seen from Page and will probably never be topped for me. She was 17 at the time and her portrayal is believable for a 14 year old and her motives are hard to fault her for. She has literally thought everything out and will stop at nothing to prove it. Wilson is also great in this film, because at first you find him repulsion for bringing Page home, then you hate him and then I personally found myself feeling sorry for him and wanting him to extract some kind of revenge. The story itself is basic, but the issues they tackle are not. On top of that, the dialogue is very difficult because it is two characters playing off each other. This film also has one of the most cringe worthy sequences I’ve ever seen as well.
The biggest issue I have with this film is that we don’t really know if Wilson is guilty of anything aside from taking Page back to his place. Now we do get a reveal and learn that he is worse than we originally thought, but really is it enough to torture him? I know some reading this may believe it is warranted. The ending and what she forces him to do does not fit the crime to me though. The other thing is Page claims to be 14. Now she did make up a lot of the story she fed to Wilson, so we never know how much of it is true.
This film is being added to the horror film research due to the torture sequence as well as the premise of the film. Pedophiles and molestation is a disgusting thing which makes Wilson a despicable character in the film. What Page does to him though is almost as bad as well.
Now with that said, I would recommend seeing this film. The acting is very good in this one. The story itself is not complex, but the dialogue and what they go through definitely make up for that. There are really only 5 characters in the film and only two settings, but that doesn’t take away anything for me. This film also has one of the most cringe worthy sequences that does not actually show anything and I loved it. I definitely recommend that you give this film a viewing at least once.
My Rating: 8 out of 10