A smart, charming teenage girl, Hayley probably shouldn't be going to a local coffee shop to meet Jeff, a 30-something fashion photographer she met on the Internet. But before she knows it, she's mixing drinks at Jeff's place and stripping for an impromptu photo shoot. It's Jeff's lucky night. But Hayley isn't as innocent as she looks, and the night takes a turn when she begins to impose a hard-hitting investigation on Jeff in an attempt to reveal his possibly scandalous past.
The supercharged possibilities of a single set and two amped-up actors are explored in Hard Candy, a twisted cocktail with a poison kicker. After a flirtatious encounter in an online chat room, two people agree to meet for coffee: a 32-year-old man (Patrick Wilson) and a 14-year-old girl (Ellen Page). They quickly advance to his house, and just as quickly, the apparent pedophilic seduction morphs into something else entirely. After the tables turn, Hard Candy becomes a tale of revenge and torture that might have tempted a filmmaker like Park Chanwook. Here, first-time feature director David Slade opts for a slick look that stays close to the actors, and you can't really blame him--this movie is like a conceptual, more-than-slightly unbelievable off-Broadway play, a showcase for actors and "controversial" ideas. Those actors are strong: Patrick Wilson (Angels in America, Phantom of the Opera) is every bit as creepy as he needs to be, and Ellen Page has nothing short of a triumph. The Canadian actress was around 18 when she shot the film, but looks like an adolescent, which makes her authoritative wrath all the more shocking to witness. The provocations of Hard Candy sometimes seem arbitrary or forced, but Page's electrifying performance can't be denied, or dismissed. --Robert Horton
25 Pictures of Hard Candy (2006)
4 Poster Pictures of Hard Candy (2006)
4 Wallpaper Pictures of Hard Candy (2006)
Theatrical release date