108 Min | Drama – Romance | November 2006
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Director: Neil Armfield
Starring: Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush
Candy Review: “Candy” is one of those films where you walk away feeling a little bit stunned by the awful reality it exposes. It is not a pretty film nor a pretty subject, but as another “drug” film, at least we can feel an empathy for the main characters, whilst the horror of heroin addiction is still depicted. It is this balance that sets “Candy” apart from many other druggie pics.The love between Candy and Dan is very real. Affectionate, painful, hopeful and hopeless, it transcends the heroin story to the extent where we really hope everything will work out for them, though we’re taken on the ride of rapid decline so familiar with this drug.
Much credit for this balance lies with an excellent story and direction from Neil Armfeld (more familiar with theatre in Australia), and some superb acting from Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish in the leads. Geoffrey Rush has a delicious support role as Dan’s friend Casper, a “mentor” whom we suspect is a little tormented by his own influences. Tony Martin and Noni Hazelhurst round out the main supports as Candy’s suffering parents, loving but helpless as they observe their daughter’s descent into a world they never knew. Like drug problems in real life, all the characters enmeshed in the mess are frail, vulnerable,emotional and ill. They are good and bad. They blame each other and themselves. They look everywhere for solutions that might work, yet we suspect the ultimate solution is too difficult.
The parents in Candy are excellent, from subtle facial expressions to drag-out fights with their dope fiend daughter. They act much as you would expect parents to act, or at least hope they would act. I suspect that in years to come, this will become one of the ultimate drug pics to show to teenagers. Not hopeless like Trainspotting, nor in anyway melodramatic like so many others (Clean and sober,28 days etc..), it shows the horrors of drug addiction whilst maintaining its humanity. The ending may be disappointing for some, but it remains true to the love, hope and uncertainty central to Candy and to anyone who lives with recovery.