The Woodsman

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 46
  2. Negative: 6 out of 46

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User Reviews

  1. JeffM.
    Aug 14, 2006
    9
    Daring and original. Would rate a "10" if the script hadn't made the mistake of unrealistically populating the neighbourhood with an overabundance of child molesters.
  2. BillC.
    Jul 28, 2006
    8
    A well done film on a difficult subject manner that was done without any heavy handed leanings. Kevin Bacon was fantastic in the part as was Kira Segswick. Difficult to watch in a few places , but acting don't get any better than this.
  3. JeffL.
    Feb 1, 2005
    7
    The Woodsman stars Kevin Bacon in a remarkable performance as Walter, a convicted pedophile who has just been released from prison following a 12-year sentence. Walter moves into an apartment next to a schoolyard, gets a job at a lumber mill, becomes romantically involved with an attractive (though damaged) coworker (Kyra Sedgwick), and quietly wrestles with his darkest impulses, which he The Woodsman stars Kevin Bacon in a remarkable performance as Walter, a convicted pedophile who has just been released from prison following a 12-year sentence. Walter moves into an apartment next to a schoolyard, gets a job at a lumber mill, becomes romantically involved with an attractive (though damaged) coworker (Kyra Sedgwick), and quietly wrestles with his darkest impulses, which he knows are wrong but can't completely escape. Bacon's subtle, implosive performance acurately captures the tortured soul of his character without romanticizing him, and the script (by Steve Fechter and first-time director Nicole Kassell) admirably offers up no simple solutions or pat answers. Sedgwick is equally fine in a tough, sexy, emotionally complex role, and I was also impressed with rapper Mos Def as Bacon's suspicious parole officer and Hannah Pilkes as a pretty young girl that Walter may be just a bit too interested in. Obviously, this isn't exactly the feel-good film of the season; but it is a thoughtful, compelling, and unsettling character study that's well worth viewing. Expand
  4. KrissyK.
    May 14, 2005
    9
    Beautifully restrained. Some of the best performances I have seen from American actors.
  5. NavinR.
    Jan 12, 2005
    8
    An excellent drama that takes you into the life of the character. Kevin Bacon does a great job. The pace of the movie is right, the charaters are believable and the movie is certainly worth watching.
  6. FrancisS.
    Jan 21, 2005
    10
    I would have given The Woodsman an 8 or 9, but I believe the courage it takes to take on this kind of issue merits it the extra points. Though The Woodsman is painful to watch, it is the kind of pain that needs to be felt so that pedophilia can be understood both with compassion and justice for everyone involved. It shows the crime of children who suffer horrible pain due to the abuse of I would have given The Woodsman an 8 or 9, but I believe the courage it takes to take on this kind of issue merits it the extra points. Though The Woodsman is painful to watch, it is the kind of pain that needs to be felt so that pedophilia can be understood both with compassion and justice for everyone involved. It shows the crime of children who suffer horrible pain due to the abuse of trust of an adult. However, very few people even think of pedophiles as people anymore after they have committed their crimes, and this film also shows the torment and humanity of those people who struggle with themselves, their desires to stop, and the effects their actions have on those around them. A brave and needed film. Expand
  7. JoeA.
    Jan 23, 2005
    8
    An excellent movie that realistically captures the daily struggles of a sex offender trying to manage life on the outside. Yes, the balance of irreprehensible behavior and this character's humanity is portrayed beautifully. Bacon is stellar. It was a movie that I left wanting more.
  8. WilliamC.
    Jan 24, 2005
    9
    A loook at the most detested people in society...Bacon is perfect as the sick pedaphile trying to become "normal" with little support.
  9. DaveV.
    Jan 26, 2005
    9
    The performances are mesmerizing. not just Bacon, who delivers the best performance of his career, but Sedgwick, Bratt, little Hanna Pikes and especially Mos Def. a brave, unique film.
  10. VinceH.
    Jan 30, 2005
    7
    Kevin Bacon IS this movie. His performance is perfectly controlled, so direct yet oblique, so complex and involving. Hence, fully human. This is certainly Bacon's finest performance to date. Right from the first frame, Kassel pulls you into this engrossing, involving universe that Walter occupies perfectly. By using a droning, almost classical-industrial sounding music in almost Kevin Bacon IS this movie. His performance is perfectly controlled, so direct yet oblique, so complex and involving. Hence, fully human. This is certainly Bacon's finest performance to date. Right from the first frame, Kassel pulls you into this engrossing, involving universe that Walter occupies perfectly. By using a droning, almost classical-industrial sounding music in almost every scene and shooting Walter often from a distance and at work, we really get a sense of a sad life. Kassel beautifully captures the feeling of working at a drab, boring job in a small town, and we really feel like we're there, living in Walter's mind. Overall a very effective psychological drama that also feautres the scariest and most devastating scene of the year, where Walter confronts a young bird watcher in the park and we see him as he was before his "change". Expand
  11. AndyG.
    Apr 30, 2005
    9
    An excellent character study. Not a false note in the whole film. One of the best English speaking dramas of the decade.
  12. GarethC.
    May 31, 2005
    8
    Disturbing, but an education. Not an easy movie to watch, but excellent performances from the cast, particularly Kevin Bacon. Great directing. When you're up to it, well worth a watch.
  13. moviebuff
    Jan 13, 2005
    9
    Stunning and understated look at a very difficult subject matter. Don't be put off by its theme. Its study of humanity at its least understandable behavior make it unique in more ways than one.
  14. BrianR.
    Jan 14, 2005
    9
    A courageous film that will surprise you. Kevin Bacon is wonderful.
  15. JohnFrancisA.
    Jul 12, 2005
    10
    The basic story is already well stated. So, I humbly will attempt to advance my reasons for my 10: Kenin Bacon is brilliant: he mangages to convey not only the torturous and conflicting emotions of a pedaphile but, in a riveting and more universal display of soulful reflection and anguish, the often brutally conflicting emotions of any "psychological outsider": be they a sexual "deviant"; The basic story is already well stated. So, I humbly will attempt to advance my reasons for my 10: Kenin Bacon is brilliant: he mangages to convey not only the torturous and conflicting emotions of a pedaphile but, in a riveting and more universal display of soulful reflection and anguish, the often brutally conflicting emotions of any "psychological outsider": be they a sexual "deviant"; obsessive neurotic; or, simply, any person who has overwhelming feelings or desires that are in conflict with the "norm" (and in today's political atmosphere, this is a lot of people; thus, I found the film all the more powerful and praiseworthy: thank you to Kevin Bacon and all involved with the film for taking the time to make such a masterpeice knowing it would be seen be only a very limited audience). I was hoping when I searched "MetaCritic" to see a 100. Obviously, I was quite stirred when I saw no less than Richard Schickel give the 100 (if you have not read it, his book on Brando is quite qood reading). The film moved me for several days. Bacon's portrayel is a truly remarkable display of the human condition: or of anyone who has ever had to struggle with any sin and, especially, with the possibility that they might commit it again. The film thus clearly transcends the plight of the pedaphile on a journey of repetance. As a character study, it reviles, if not exceeds, DeNiro's acting in "Taxi Drive". I was saddened to see, as I see increasingly more often even among "professional" critics, that the film was too long or too boring. Sad indeed: it seems more and more that, if no explosions or fake violence, not much interest. Very sad. But, no surprise, again, given how this country has decided to elect its leaders in recent years. In anticipation (and more since I have seen the other reviews) of attacks on the film that it is simply emotional manipulation to feel sympathy for the pedaphile, I say no. Kevin Bacon's performance seems clearly calculated to counter any emotional tugging: he is not a particularly agreeable person, even to Kyra (who tries extremely hard to help him; wish I had such support in my life). You could not blame her for just letting him rot. However, does every tale of attempted redemption have to end in sorrow? As "The Woodsman" shows, not necessarily. The hope that the film leaves lingering is cause for all of us to renew any challenge we have made to confront and beat our demons. I wish all the Walters (Kevin Bacon) in the world success in their battles. Expand
  16. Oct 22, 2013
    9
    The approach that is taken towards the overall revelation of 'The Woodsman' is one of subtle and delicate means, we know when the film kicks off that Walter is being released from prison, he settles into an apartment while also taking a job at a lumberyard, it's safe to say that much of the surprise can be taken out of the film especially when every description of the film now outlines theThe approach that is taken towards the overall revelation of 'The Woodsman' is one of subtle and delicate means, we know when the film kicks off that Walter is being released from prison, he settles into an apartment while also taking a job at a lumberyard, it's safe to say that much of the surprise can be taken out of the film especially when every description of the film now outlines the exact extent of Walters crimes. The film doesn't take pedophilia lightly, in fact Kevin Bacon never attempts to seek redemption for the error of his ways, the film instead shows how fitting back into society can prove difficult, especially when he is living across from a school. Bacon is not playing a character who is looking sympathy or remorse for what he is done, he is taking each day as it comes and letting certain individuals treat him like dirt, he takes it on the chin but continues to struggle, he believes there is a man bothering the children in the school, yet due to his past is unsure what to do about it. Two co-workers have two very different opinions of Walter, Mary-Kay (Eve) is immediately suspicious after Walter puts her down, but Vickie (Kyra Sedgwick) seems to admire the mysterious and quiet attitude of Walter, contrary to her outward and feisty personality, she consistently asks Walter what he did, but he often refuses to tell her his past. A past that cannot be accepted isn't necessarily the person at complete fault, but the crime itself. Walter tests his own desires time and time again, he shares a few moments with a young bird watcher in the park, this scene has so much weight and significance that it solidifies the film, this isn't a film to be enjoyed, but more to study and appreciate the adjustment and progression of characters, this scene in the park is awkward and testing, Walter doesn't know what to do and seems to think quickly as he attempts to defuse a situation, his parole officer (Mos Def) is the one who brings Walt back down to reality, he sees the man who went into prison for molesting young children and not much else, his brother-in-law (Benjamin Bratt) tries to see past the crime but always seems edgy and unsure, but willing to give Walter a chance.
    This isn't a sympathetic piece nor a cry for help, but it asks the audience to study a situation and vets only draw your own conclusion, yet it never paints its lead as a man who has found redemption, but simply someone who is trying to adjust to a life that has moved on without him.
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  17. Apr 6, 2012
    10
    An exceptional movie, with exceptional performances! Daring, provocative, challenging, disturbing, intense! Kevin Bacon deserved an Oscar for his work here! but, oh well, we know how Hollywood works! This is a film that discloses the 'dark side' of the story. It is not about exploring the victim's perspective but the perpetrator's inner and outer world. This rises the question? Are allAn exceptional movie, with exceptional performances! Daring, provocative, challenging, disturbing, intense! Kevin Bacon deserved an Oscar for his work here! but, oh well, we know how Hollywood works! This is a film that discloses the 'dark side' of the story. It is not about exploring the victim's perspective but the perpetrator's inner and outer world. This rises the question? Are all criminals evils? What is the effect that the crime has in the one who commits it? what is guilty? How is it experienced? Is there such a thing as redemption? and if it is, how can that be achieved?. It is not a movie for people with strong, religious morals...to them I wouldn't recommend it, as they may find it offensive and unethical. To me, this is a masterpiece! One of the best movies ever! I applaud it! Expand
  18. Sep 6, 2012
    10
    One of my favorite movies of all time! Don't think it did well in the theaters when it was released as it's subject matter is quite strong. Kevin Bacon does a great job as well as his real life wife who also stars in the film. Slow, small, dark, and difficult. Just how I like my movies. Keep an eye out for 2 rappers that have cameos in this film. Highly recommended!

Awards & Rankings

Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. A stunning, difficult film.
  2. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    80
    A stunningly crafted work from first-time feature director Nicole Kassell.
  3. Bacon conveys the weight of his character's anguished struggles through his economy of movement, and the powerful, spare script is refreshingly devoid of cant.