(2005)

Critic Reviews

58

Metascore

Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
A tough sit, but it attracts more than repels you. It commands your attention. Once it lands its hooks in you, there's no tearing away.
90
Village Voice
A film that forges identification with its victimized heroine like none I've seen in decades. (The Nova Scotia–born Page, a Molly Ringwald type who was only 15 when the movie was made, leaves little doubt as to whether a kid can play a grown-up's icky game and win.)
90
The Hollywood Reporter
To pull this kind of thing off you need exceptional performances, and the two leads rise commandingly to the challenge. Wilson, best known for his work in the screen version of "The Phantom of the Opera" and HBO's "Angels in America," keeps his true colors effectively muted throughout the bulk of their face-off, but it is Page who astonishes.
88
ReelViews
These are two fascinating characters, and watching them thrust and parry proves to be as impossible to turn away from as observing a grotesque roadside accident.
83
Entertainment Weekly
Hard Candy is extreme - a battle of the sexes that glides from tricky to angry to shockingly ugly.
70
Variety
A spectacular performance by teenage thesp Ellen Page elevates this disturbing slice of designer shocksploitation into a film that's impossible to dismiss on principle.
60
L.A. Weekly
The more things drag on, the more monotonous they become and, by the end, Hard Candy has devolved into a rather transparent game of one-upmanship in which Hayley and Jeff come across in almost equally repellent measure, their behaviors driven less by organic impulses than by their need to satisfy the script's elaborate series of reversals and counter-reversals.
58
The A.V. Club
Had they ended 20 minutes in, "Wedding Crashers" would qualify as a gut-busting triumph, and Hard Candy would be a miniature masterpiece.
30
During the ensuing narrative unpleasantness and visual incoherence (meaningless choker close-ups, pointless slow motion), Hayley subjects Jeff to a range of torture, all in the name of, well, what? Despite the two fine performances, it's hard to say.
10
Chicago Reader
Tautly directed by David Slade, this drama probably offers more sadism than anyone could possibly want...The characters are absurd, but if you're up for this sort of thing, then surely you can con yourself into accepting them. Personally, I'd rather have this movie obliterated from my memory.

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