Hard Candy (2005)
Starring: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson. Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae
Budget $950,000 Box Office $8.3M
This is a film about a fourteen-year-old girl who calls herself Haley, that plots and carries out a revenge plan against an adult male she suspects of being a sexual predator. The best thing about this movie is that this girl does what most people dream of doing to these monsters when we see them on the news or in crime shows.
She starts out by luring him to a coffee shop to meet FTF (that’s face to face for us older peeps who don’t speak in anagrams). When they do finally meet, she slyly tricks him into taking her to his house. He may think it is HIS idea but, it’s really HERS, it’s part of her plan.
When they get there, like any sexual predator, there’s some light flirting, some drinks are made, he shows her around his house while talking about his profession as a photographer, trying to impress her. But, when he hands her the drink, she says that it’s not a good idea to drink something you didn’t mix yourself. He agrees and says they can go back in the kitchen and she can watch him make the drink but, instead, she takes charge and says SHE’LL mix some drinks…screwdrivers.
She brings the drinks out and then starts slowing pushing him to drink his cocktail, faster and faster, saying that he’s falling behind and needs to be able to keep up with a teen girl. Appealing to his ego, which works, and he continues to drink the screwdriver she made for him. What he doesn’t know is that she put something in the drink to drug him. And it works.
She gets him tied to a chair, bound well with nylon ropes. And from that point on SHE is in control. And she has a purpose. She wants to get a confession out of him. A confession about a missing girl named Donna Mauer, who he admits he met for coffee.
Throughout the film we see the two of them play mind games back and forth. Haley claims to be an honor student and very bright. And she seems to live up to the claim. Jeff, the adult male predator, claims he’s not a pedophile, which in my opinion is a matter of semantics.
Quick lesson: The term pedophile gets thrown around to encapsulate ALL sex offenders that prey on minors. This is NOT accurate and is very misleading. A pedophile is a predator that preys on pre-pubescent children, usually the law says twelve and under. After that they are labeled sexual predator. Or rapist.
She finds all kinds of hidden secrets in his house and she toys with him like a cat with a mouse. Eventually, Haley sets Jeff up for an ultimatum. And it comes down to him making a choice. It will be a life changing choice either way he goes. And that’s her intent. She’s going to change his life. And his will.
I loved this movie. Haley is played by Ellen Page and she’s awesome in this film. She is excellent at the cold-hearted attitude this kind of person must have to do the things to Jeff that this girl does. The funny thing about this movie is that we go along through the whole movie believing Haley from the start. Jeff seems like a perv. And even if he isn’t the exact predator she thinks he is, because he continuously claims he’s not, he’s a predator in her mind, nonetheless. And for that, the ends justify the means. I guess in some cases it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. But, then again, she’s not really worried about forgiveness.
What strikes me is that she’s a fourteen-year-old girl and she’s doing things that an adult wouldn’t be able to handle. She’s quite the thinker, definitely living up to her claim as an honor student. She definitely has a level of sarcasm and dark humor that I can appreciate, although her victim didn’t seem to find anything funny at all. Can you believe that? Not one thing. No sense of humor.
I have watched this film three or four times before I decided to write a review on it. I was originally watching it because I found it psychologically interesting. This is definitely a psychological thriller. At least in my opinion. I mean, this girl plays with this guy’s mind in every way possible making him almost crazy with fear and anger and anxiety. The mind games and psychological torture she puts this guy through is pretty impressive for a fourteen-year-old. I mean, she comes up with things that NORMAL teenage girls wouldn’t, couldn’t even imagine. She’s also very good at planning ahead, her ability for foresight is astounding. She’s quick thinking and fast on feet. It’s almost like this guy Jeff doesn’t seem to stand a chance against her, and she’s just a kid.
But, then again, this film is a good example of how much we underestimate our youth of today. They aren’t the same. Fourteen years old in 2020 is not the same as fourteen years old in 1994. We’re talking a completely different generation, with a completely different upbringing and a completely different mindset. These kids aren’t kids anymore. They grow up faster, they experience more earlier in life and they don’t do the things we did at that age. Yes, the general stuff about being a teenager, all the angst and awkwardness and such is still there. That’s just biology and natural and that will never change. But attitudes and maturity do change. And things are different now. Oddly enough, this film reminded me of just that.
There’s no blood, no gore. No slasher scenes and no chases of big breasted blondes running from madmen with big bladed weapons. This is altogether a different kind of thriller and it’s a good one at that.
2/13/2020 08:25:27 am
I really enjoy the horror report and I usually find myself agreeing with your ratings. Even when I don’t agree I can respect your point of view and I appreciate the amount of time and research you put into your criticism.
2/13/2020 10:22:29 pm
Thank you for your comment. Just so we are clear, I am very aware that over 90% of sex abuse is committed by someone known to the victim. Stranger Danger, although a good program, made everyone more vulnerable to the people that actually do prey on children or sex abuse victims. Furthermore, I do know that the statutory article exists and varies from state to state. I am also aware of Romeo and Juliet laws in various states allowing sexual relationships based on the age difference in quantity of years rather than naming a victim and perpetrator. Also, I did not go into all of that because I was writing a review for a movie and not a political opinion piece for anti-sex offender legislation. I am quite aware that the information available on the registries found on the internet is and can be misleading and should really only be accessed by professionals in the correct areas of expertise, not the average citizen. The reason I say that is because there are a lot of ways to get on that list. From getting caught urinating in public to soliciting a prostitute to horrible unimaginable crimes. The average person doesn't understand that lewd and lascivious behavior encompasses a wide variety of convictions. They also rarely understand that there is a tier system to sex offenders and that not all sex offenders on the registry are child or even violent offenders, again, like urinating in an alley when you're drunk and get busted by the cops. So please, don't lecture me on the differences. I am well educated on the subject, I just didn't feel the need to get into all the politics of it. I also feel the need to point out that cinema is generally meant to entertain. I think you may be taking this movie a little too personally and maybe too literally.
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