Coco At The Movies: Hard Candy

Posted by: Coco Buchanan

** This review contains spoilers**

coco-chanel1To be honest, the only real reason I watched this movie was because it was free on the Fear Net channel On Demand, and I think Patrick Wilson is cute.  Plus, I was curious to see what Ellen Page’s work looked like before Juno.  The only two characters in this movie, really are Patrick Wilson, as Jeff, the pedophile, and Ellen Page as Hayley, the sociopath teen. Sandra Oh plays a small role as Jeff’s neighbor, but she’s really not in it much.  This film has an interesting plot-a teen sort of “turns the tables” on a pedophile she meets in a chatroom (who really meets in chatrooms?  It was made in 2005, which really wasn’t that long ago, but whatever) & suspects in the murder of another young girl.  It could’ve been an opportunity to deal with sexuality and abuse in original and nuanced ways, but unfortunately, this movie did not achieve this.

First of all, the movie was incredibly implausible-there’s no way scrawny little Ellen Page could’ve physically contained & tied up Patrick Wilson that many times.  It became tedious, really, and though the film was only 104 minutes, seemed to drag on FOREVER with the same bullshit over & over again.  However, the thing that bothered me the most was that, and I don’t know if it was supposed to be this way, the Jeff character-a pedophile-was actually much more sympathetic than the Hayley character.  I felt a bit offended that Hayley, a self-proclaimed avenger for abused teen girls, was painted as a completely insane sadist and a(n) (almost) castrating bitch.   There was very little character development in general, but there was pretty much ZERO development for Page’s character.  I had almost no clue as to what her personal motives were for going to all of this trouble to trap and ultimately drive this guy insane.  I get that he’s a pedophile, and that she thought he killed that missing girl, but your average teen doesn’t usually engage in that type of behavior.  I get that she was supposed to be smart and a feminist, etc, but so, what, all smart Feminists want to do this?hard-candy

If that’s the case, then this movie was a giant piece of crap, and how fucking dare they imply that if you’re sympathetic to the physical and sexual abuse of women and young girls, that you’re some sort of crazed lunatic.  It seemed like it was all for shock value, and that perhaps it served as an allegory for contemporary manhood being victimized by feminism or something.  I just read this awful article in this month’s Details magazine about the “return” of the male chauvinist (as though he went somewhere!) appropriately titled “Welcome Back, Asshole,” that was sort of whining about how men feel like they’ve earned the right to be misogynists again, or whatever, because the early nineties were all about being PC and letting women express themselves.  Cry me a fucking river, dudes.  It’s DISGUSTS me how entitled these assholes feel, and this film could have very well been created in line with this so-called “logic.”

Though, again, I’m not entirely sure that is, in fact, the case.  Either way, it’s confusing, implausible, and badly developed, despite the “tension,” violence, plot twists, etc.  If you still want to see this movie for some unknown reason, I should warn you that there is one particularly graphic scene that sickened me a little, even though I don’t have testicles or a penis…if you know what I mean.  I just don’t enjoy torture porn, pretty much across the board, and frankly, if you need to have it in your psychological thriller, at least make it a good one with some well-thought out complexity.

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