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Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 239 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A cat-and-mouse psychotic thriller as incisive as it is stylish, Hard Candy delivers a provocative take on the revenge drama while jangling nerves at every turn. The film plunges us into an unstable universe where we cannot readily identify the "good guy" in the tense confrontation between a 14-year-old girl and the 32-year-old man she suspects of pedophilia and murder. (Lionsgate) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 30
  2. Negative: 6 out of 30
  1. 100
    A tough sit, but it attracts more than repels you. It commands your attention. Once it lands its hooks in you, there's no tearing away.
  2. The film was reputedly inspired by Japanese teens who trolled chat rooms to find predators, made assignments, then ganged up to beat offending adults.
  3. 88
    Hard Candy is impressive and effective. As for what else it may be, each audience member will have to decide.
  4. Reviewed by: Winda Benedetti
    75
    Hard Candy is not perfect, but it is a provocative piece of filmmaking with a dark and daring heart that makes it worth seeing.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    Hard Candy is the rare movie that may be worthiest for the arguments you'll have after it's over.
  6. 50
    It takes creepy, spooky, and altogether ooky to a hideous new level.
  7. Tautly directed by David Slade, this drama probably offers more sadism than anyone could possibly want...The characters are absurd, but if you're up for this sort of thing, then surely you can con yourself into accepting them. Personally, I'd rather have this movie obliterated from my memory.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 64
  2. Negative: 12 out of 64
  1. SeanM.
    May 5, 2006
    10
    Very intense and unsettling psychological drama. Great performances, not over the top, although some of the scenes definitely are. Two big thumbs up from me. Expand
  2. EmanueleS.
    Jul 22, 2008
    10
    Absolutely fantastic: actors director and photography are perfect.
  3. JeremyF.
    Jan 20, 2007
    10
    I have no idea how anyone can say this movie is horrible. A couple people on here have said that Ellen Page is terrible and overacts in every scene. This is beyond untrue. Her performance is one of the best and most perfect performances of the decade so far. She is powerful, passionate, and sadistically awing. She goes beyond "pulling off" every aspect of her role. As the movie goes, it's impossible to look away. A lot of people and critics say it's sick, and disgusting, and how you can barely sit through it. And that's true. You can barely sit through it, appalled, disgusted... etc. But you do. It's grossness, disgust, and sadistic thrill is what really grabs you. It lands it's claws in you and doesn't let you get away. Your eyes are glued to the screen because you're sitting at the edge of your seat, saying "what's she gonna do to him next?" or "what's he going to do to her." It's suspense is pulled off immensely, which is 85% true because of the beyond spectacular performances from Page and Wilson. The one thing that I think rattles most people is that during the film you don't know who to side with. He's a pedophile, so it's wrong what he's doing. Or is he? Is he a pedophile? Or is she just assuming and insanely torturing him? But also, on the other hand, if he is a pedophile, you agree with Hayley that he should be punished, and despite her sick technique and skill, you almost feel like you're siding with her. But then you feel bad for the pedophile, almost, and that makes you feel bad. It's just an overwhelming thought: who is right? who is wrong? are they both wrong? true, it is sick. true, it is sadistic what she does. but it's also true, that "Hard Candy" is one of the decades best put-together, and best acted films yet. 100 / 10 !!! ps: it's not overhyped, kids, don't worry. Expand
  4. Sep 27, 2011
    8
    I watched this one because I saw it at the library and I knew it was supposed to be very interesting. Then a friend told me it was the best thing Page had done even over Juno. I was really excited to see this one. What I saw...*shudder* oh yes, *shudder*

    Acting/Characters: There are only 2 people in this movie. Yes I know Sandra Oh receives top billing but it was like John Rhys-Davies in Ferocious Planet, it's just a name draw. It is just Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page interacting with each other. I must say, Ellen Page can play a total psychopath if she wants. In fact, this movie showed me that she can play whatever she wants. I had only ever seen her in Juno, Inception, and X-Men. I agree with my friend that this was the best thing she has done. Her range of emotions and delivery of her lines were spectacular I must say. Patrick Wilson did an excellent job acting with Page. But it was really her show of course. She commanded ever scene. Make no mistake, she was in charge. End of story. Thank goodness she did such an awesome job or this movie would have sucked. 9/10

    Plot: The story itself is original but I don't think the idea behind it is. Role-reversal of stuff like this isn't something I've never seen. The way that they presented it and the actual story is very original as far as I am aware. I was definitely never bored. It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. One scene was just so difficult to watch. Anyone who is a guy who has seen this film knows which one. Double shudder on that one. The film wasn't too long although they probably could have shaved off a few seconds here and there...maybe not I guess. It wasn't overly long is what I'm trying to say. It was engaging, not too long, and told very effectively. The theme isn't original but I don't see anything wrong with that. 8.5/10

    Screenplay: I'd like to take a screenplay course someday and see if writing a screenplay for a film like this, that is to say, two or three principle actors who take up all of the screen-time in one basic space, or for a film with lots of people to write for. Whatever the case is, this one was pretty good. It really helped the actors out. it was written well enough for the really interesting bits of Page's character to come out. I don't know how hard it is to effectively write a sociopath, but they nailed it here. Very good job. 8.5/10

    Likableness: I saw it, I'm glad I saw it, but it isn't a film that I'm immediately going to pop back into the good ol' laptop again to watch. It'll be a while before I see this again. It will stay with me though. it is far from a forgettable film. I found myself wide-eyed with horror throughout most of the film. This is far better than any Saw film. It leaves a lot to your imagination which just makes it all the more effective. I would suggest this one to anyone who can handle something like this. It is definitely not for the fainthearted though. especially any fainthearted guys. I liked it a lot though. 9/10

    Final score: 35/40 87% (N)
    Tomatometer rating: 68%
    Tomatometer rating if my review was added: 68%


    TRIVIA TIME: 1. The stunt coordinator's house served as the exterior for Jeff's house. The interiors of Jeff's house were inspired by that of producer David Higgins, who planned to shoot the film there if enough money could not be secured to build sets.


    2. Both cast and crew members have denied that the costume choices for the character of Hayley were intended as a reference to the children's story 'Little Red Riding Hood.'

    3. Despite the intense emotional and physical content of most rest of the movie, Ellen Page said that one of the hardest scenes to shoot by far was the scene at Nighthawks, where for take after take she had to eat more tiramisu than she could ever want.

    4. The final shot of Hayley with the hoody pulled over her head was taken by the DP Jo Willems without Ellen Page knowing. She didn't know about the shot until she saw the final cut.

    5. According to actress Ellen Page, the iconic red hooded shirt (which belonged to Ellen Page) used in the movie and on the posters was, in fact, orange. The color was changed in post-production.

    6. Because Ellen Page shaved her head for her previous film role, during the audition she was mistaken for a boy. The effect was so off-putting she had to put on a wig, where she then gave a phenomenal reading.
    Expand
  5. Aug 19, 2010
    7
    Man meets young girl on Internet, lots in common, meet at coffee shop, go back to his house, get drunk, gets weird.
    Thriller that tackles a
    difficult subject but plays it out well helped by the brilliant Ellen Page.
    It has its uneasy moments but it's very well written & you're never really sure, even after the end credits, of what was what & who did what.
    Expand
  6. [Anonymous]
    Apr 22, 2006
    6
    This movie was like Home Alone for all male haters. The actors are amusing and the direction in parts is pretty good. But, if I am going to dish out $14 for a movie about someone being tortured, I better see alot of blood guts. Heck, I have seen more gore trick or treating down my street than I did in this movie. I think what tipped this movie from being slightly amusing to full on retarded was just when you thought the movie was ending, they started back up with a new scenario. As if we already didn't get the point!!!! If you want to see real horror, go to this show, and then multiply the number of people who saw it by $14 and then you will have true horror. Expand
  7. Mike
    Oct 9, 2006
    0
    The first 15 mins of the movie, were great! Very interesting and it kept me interested in what would have happened next. But then it went down hill it kept on getting more and more unbelievable, stay away from this movie! Expand

See all 64 User Reviews

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