Indie Gems: Hard Candy

Many people rave about actress Ellen Page from her work in 'Juno' and 'X-men: The Last Stand' and most recently, 'Whip It'. But how many of you Page fans have seen what I consider is her best role to date? 'Hardy Candy' is a small film that gives you a lot of different ideas. While it doesn't answer all of your questions it makes you think about them. You get to choose who you think is right or wrong.

The film starts off in a chat room. 14 year old Hayley (Ellen Page) has been flirting with a 32 year old photographer named Jeff. They are aware of each other's ages and Hayley proposes that they meet in a coffee shop. Now anyone who's ever read about Internet predators or has seen the film 'Strangeland' knows that this is a bad idea. We immediately think Hayley is going to end up in trouble. When Jeff invites her back to her places, she carefully and quickly changes the game. We, the viewers are left to decide who is right and who is wrong in this indie thriller.

I've been a huge fan of Page ever since I saw this. This film made me go out and hunt down all of her other work (She's great in 'An American Crime' and 'Mouth to Mouth' too by the way) Although Page was really 17 when she shot this, she gives Hayley so many layers its almost impossible to categorize her. Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, Little Children) is equally as good. There are only 5 people shown in this entire movie, with Jeff and Hayley as the main characters. They keep us engaged and guessing through out the entire film. It's shot subtly, the main setting is in and around Jeff's house. The camera stays focused on the actors more than the scenery, which is exactly what is needed.

Some didn't care for the ending, I loved it. I loved how un-apologetic the film was about not answering your questions directly. They got this idea from a group of girls in Japan that apparently lured internet predators out in the option then jumped them and beat the crap out of them. It's meant to make you think.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "It's just so easy to blame a kid, ISN'T IT?" - Hayley (Ellen Page)


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