Hard Candy is Troubling and Problematical

After a string of Canadian films, Nova Scotian Ellen Page is getting her big Hollywood break in X-Men 3. I’m more interested to see a smaller film in which she stars: Hard Candy. It looks hard to watch but pretty gripping. Here’s the IMDB plot summary:

A provocative drama about a 32-year-old man who takes home a 14-year-old girl he meets on the Internet–with surprising consequences.

Apparently the creepy dude gets the tables turned on him. The creep is Patrick Wilson, who was excellent in a very different sort of role in Angels in America.

Five years younger seems to be the standard increase for playing a kid these days. Page is actually 19. Two of the leads in Brick are 24 year olds playing high school seniors (I suppose that’s 6 years).

The title of this entry comes from Ebert and Roeper’s review, who give it two thumbs up. Conversely, the early buzz on Metacritic is pretty average.

I should also mention this good cause ‘inspired by Hard Candy‘:

SURF SAFE, WEAR RED is a movement for online empowerment and awareness, inspired by the film HARD CANDY and its protagonist’s red hoody. Wear a red hoody to stand up for online safety and against internet violence.

This is an admirable gesture, but I’m always skeptical of these campaigns which also benefit the corporation behind them. After all, wearing a red hoodie serves two purposes: highlighting the issue of online safety, and promoting the film. It’s a bit like the Vancouver Sun’s Raise a Reader campaign. Literacy is a great cause, but the subtext is “raise another Sun reader”.

I suppose I can’t ask corporations to be totally selfless, and a cause+marketing is better than no cause at all.


  1. Actually, the pitch I find the most infuriating is the “Going on holiday? Redirect your subscription to a classroom!” meme. It’s usually accompanied with the kind of self-congratulatory copy that feels just a little unseemly given that the subscribers are the ones footing the entire bill for this act of generosity.

    (Not to mention my misgivings about trying to promote literacy by distributing the Vancouver Sun. It’s kind of like promoting dental hygiene by distributing sugar cubes. But that’s another topic.)

  2. Interesting use of Flickr, though. Folks mail in pics of themselves wearing red hoodies; the campaign posts them to a Flickr account and routes them to a Flickr badge on their web site and their blog.

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