Whilst accidentally browsing for something to watch due to having a bout of insomnia (darn flu!) I came across the movie Hard Candy starring Ellen Page, who you’ll probably recognise as being from the movie “Juno”.
Hard Candy revolves around Hayley (Ellen Page), a 14 year old girl and Jeff (Patrick Wilson) a photographer, whom she meets offline after chatting to him for a few weeks. They decide to meet up in a coffee shop and amongst some light and blatantly flirtatious and sexually suggestive banter, Jeff takes her home to his flat under the guise of listening to a CD. They chat and mull over some fruit juice laden with vodka. Jeff begins to become disoriented and passes out. This is where the action begins. He wakes up finding himself bound to a chair.
Hayley suspects Jeff to be a paedophile and from hereon in subjects him to physical as well as psychological torture in order to expose him. She’s a self-appointed vigilante- “I am every little girl you ever watched, touched, hurt, screwed, killed.”
There is alot of dialogue used and sometimes its hard to understand and hear what’s been said. However despite this, the movie is fast paced and throughout it you wonder whether Hayley is slightly deranged as Jeff seems like such a pleasant guy and not unlike the sexual predator who grooms underage girls that Hayley makes him out to be.
The most excruciating scene is when Hayley decides Jeff needs to be castrated and begins to prep him for the surgical intervention complete with sutures, an ice pack to numb the area and gloves. This is just one of the methods she uses to purge a confession out of Jeff who protests his innocence and pleads with Hayley to get therapy.
She refuses to believe him and turns his flat upside looking for any pieces of evidence which point to his paedophilia. Eventually she finds a safe and opens it to discover a photo of a girl who has been missing. The story also involves his love interest, Janelle, who he still pines for despite breaking up with her for a number of years. Hayley uses Janelle to get to Jeff, playing mind games with knowing his soft spot for her.
Eventually she threatens to expose him by claiming his attempt to molest her to Janelle if he doesn’t hang himself. With Janelle arriving to the flat under the premise of an incident having occurred (call made by Hayley), Jeff panics and admits he didnt kill the missing girl but his colleague did and he’d give her his name.But Hayley’s already been there and presumably subjected him to the same series of psychological torture leading to his eventual death. She re-assures him of clearing all evidences of his paedophilia after his death so his love interest Janelle would never know.
But she leaves all the photo’s out in the open. And flee’s.
One thing I wasn’t completely sure of was why was Hayleys’s threat of exposing him to Janelle actually matter to him? After all being a photographer meant he would come across girls of all ages as part of his profression so he could conjure up a number of reasons for why he had photo’s up on his wall.
Aside from that, it’s a movie that will make you squirm and at times feel sympathy for Jeff until you realise Hayley was right all along.