Movie: Hard Candy
Release Date: April 14, 2006
Director: David Slade
Starring: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson, Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae.
Tag Lines: “Strangers shouldn’t talk to little girls.”
Relevance: I was lucky enough to see Patrick Wilson perform on Broadway in “The Full Monty” with my mom. It was such a terrific show and it has become one of my favorite Broadway shows of all time. And Mr. Wilson gave one hell of a great performance in it. I then saw him perform on the Tony awards (via television) with the cast of “Oklahoma!” for which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical. By then I was completely smitten with him. The next time I remember seeing him was in the HBO movie ‘Angels in America.’ Again, I was completely blown away by both the movie and his performance, for which he was nominated for an Emmy award. (That movie will be showing up on my list much later this year.) From that point on I was 100% a huge fan and started to follow his career.
I did not get to see ‘Hard Candy’ in theaters when it was released. It was a small independent film and there was only a short window of opportunity for me to see it. Unfortunately I missed that opportunity and had to wait for it to be released on DVD in September of 2006. The movie left me numb. Its tough subject matter of pedophilia and sexual predators is tough enough but the fact that it’s a tense thriller left me emotionally drained by the time the credits were rolling.
Some movies are meant to just entertain. Some are meant to inform. Some do both. There are those rare, truly artistic movies that simply present a story and let the audience absorb, debate and discuss. That is what ‘Hard Candy’ was for me. It stayed with me for days, even weeks after I watched it. The performances in the movie by both Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page were astounding, especially Ms. Page. I was not familiar with her work before, but she gave such an incredibly complex, disturbing and haunting performance, it was difficult to forget her after you saw it. And seeing Mr. Wilson in this role was quite jarring and completely outside his wheelhouse, at least from his past work’s perspective.
As I have mentioned, this was not an easy movie to watch and I completely understand why people skip over films like this. Some people just want to be entertained and forget about their problems for awhile. I however do not shy away from art of this nature. And I am glad that I don’t as I would have missed a truly spectacularly albeit disturbing film.
Today’s Thoughts: I have only seen this film once or twice since the first time I watched it. It’s not a film that one would want to necessarily watch and re-watch. Knowing the type of reaction I had the first time, I prepared myself for my possible mood afterwards.
It is still a great movie and a very compelling piece of art. I think that it’s an important story to be told and the film does a great job of holding your attention the entire way through it. The performances are riveting. It’s rare that a movie with basically two characters throughout is able to keep an audience on the edge of their seat. There are so many disturbing and hard to watch scenes, but the actors are 100% committed, you just can’t look away.
Unlike yesterday’s movie (see 308. (500) Days of Summer), which left me wanting to sing and dance after I watched it, ‘Hard Candy’ made me want to crawl back in bed with the sheets over my head and sleep. As much as I love this movie, it’s not one you can simply say, “I enjoyed it.” Appreciated, yes. Enjoyed, not so much. It is however still a fantastic movie and if you can afford some time to reflect, cry and feel blue for a bit after watching it, be sure to give it a try.
Ways to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, Hulu, DVD Availability.