“ Genre: Drama / Theatrical Release: 2006 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Neil Armfield / Actors: Geoffrey Rush, Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish ... / DVD released 2007-04-23 at Drakes Avenue Pictures / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, PAL „
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Candy is the 2006 film based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Luke Davies. The film has a running time of 103 mins and a certificate 15. Cast members include the gone but not forgotten Heath Ledger, Abbie Comish and Geoffrey Rush. Directed by Neil Armfield.
Candy tells the tale of the tragic love story between artist Candy and would be poet Dan. They have a mutal attraction for each other but they also share an attraction to heroin.
The Film is split into 3 parts Heaven, Earth and Hell, changing from one part to the next as they progress into addiction. As we go further on in the film we see the couple turn to crime and prostitution to feed their habbit.
Candy discovers she is pregnant, and the couple try to turn things around for the sake of their unborn child. They try to get off the drugs and go cold turkey. However it all proves too much!
The couple struggle to come off the drugs and Candy ends up having a breakdown.
Throughout the film, the couple often visit the character of Chemistry Professor Casper, whose similar addiction to drugs leads to his own death. It is only after this that Dan tries to turn things around for himself.
Verdict- I really enjoyed the film, although a hard one to watch there was something captivating about it. It is one of the most heartbreaking films I have ever seen. many scenes were very emotional and graphic. As a mother watching the scene were Candy loses her baby brought me to tears, it was just so heartbreaking. Although never having been surrounded by or involved in drugs myself I believe it to be a realistic portrayal into drug addiction and prostitution. Every character is belieable and there are no gimicks. Ledger delivers a very moving performance. It is a same this film wasn't one of his better know. A great loss to the film world. I liked how the film went from heaven-earth-hell, this went well as the film gets darker and more tragic untill it come to a tragic end, showing how their relationship weakens as their addiction grows. The film appears fairly low budget, but that really works for this film as it is like what you imagen a drug addicts life would be like. The film won't appeal to everyone as it is a little hard to watch in places and can be a little graphic with the drug taking. I feel this film would be a great film to put people off using drugs and I could see it being used for this purpose in the future. Romeo and Julliet meets Trainspotting. Overall a fantastic yet tragic film.
I enjoy watching special features and this disc includes some great cast and crew interviews and a behind the scenes.
Stars - Heath Ledger
Run-Time 115 minutes
Genre - Drama
The most shoplifted items are not things people need to survive on, like food and medicine, but things they can sell on to buy drugs - razor blades, Satnavs and Wii gaming systems way above meat and even booze to be tucked in the kids pushchair...Female junkies never want to pay for stuff they need to make themselves look pretty and smell nice so to sell their bodies for their fixes, perfume, face cream and female designer clothes also making the top ten, that heroine and crack abuse the subject of this misguided Aussie movie.
With the usual and absurd calls for legalization of Class A drugs in the U.K resurfacing, it's no surprise people want to 'use' if the life destroying habit is glamorized through films like this, the extremely gorgeous antipodean youth of Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish hardly your archetypical heroine addicts. If we had the right to legally take Class A drugs there would be more crime and drugs! Is that not what happened when we legalized alcohol use? The drug users with purposeful gates that scurry around Northampton in their emaciated bodies are anything but glamorous. Heath Ledger and Miss Cornish are in great nick for junkies here. But movies rarely show drug users for the losers they are and so the glamorization continues. Who wants to watch a movie about ugly junkies?
Abbie Cornish ... Candy
Heath Ledger ... Dan
Geoffrey Rush ... Casper
Tom Budge ... Schumann
Roberto Meza-Mont ... Jorge
Tony Martin ... Jim Wyatt
Noni Hazlehurst ... Elaine Wyatt
Art students Candy (Abbie Cornish) and Dan (Heath Ledger) are sole mates, meeting at uni and soon experimenting with drugs, an experiment that doesn't seem to want to end. He is a poet and she an art student, doing what students do away from their parents.
Once addicted to heroin their studies inevitably suffer, Dan's poetry professor (Geoffrey Rush) a fellow user and more than happy to feed their addiction, he says as 'it helps to create great art'. But when their grant dries up and their drug use becomes more than a middle-class rebellion, Candy resorts to prostitution and Dan dabbles in petty crime to get their next hit, whilst Dan dabbles in crime, a familiar downward spiral for addicts as their drug use gets in the way of employment as they will do whatever it takes to get their next fix.
Candy's parents know about their addiction but not how serious it is, Dad Jim (Tony Martin) quietly concerned but mum Elaine (Noni Hazlehurst) more vocal about it the way Dan is destroying her beautiful daughter. But love is blind and when Dan asks to marry Candy the relationship darkens between the in-laws. People get married when they are in love and so want babies and commitment, getting pregnant never a good idea for a crack addict. As Princess Diana said: there's a third person in this marriage, and for Dan and Candy its crack. Its time for cold turkey and employment if they are going to be a respectable married couple. But as their friend Casper (Rush) keeps reminding them when they need that emergency fix or cash: 'When you can stop, you don't want to. When you want to stop, you can't.....'
Most of the critcs are inagreement here that this is two young actors wanting to express their talents with more serious scripts, over somehow living their hidden addiction vicariously through film, both hooked on painkillers in real life, Ledger sadly dieing young because he used presciption medicine to mask his depression. Its often the case that good actors confront their 'isues' head on through the projects they pick.
The film is organized in three acts of roughly 3 scenes each, titled Heaven, Earth, and Hell, a layer of pretension added to try and escape the gravitational pull of drug movies many cliches , which this doesn't. Only heroin addicts know how to play users and they are in no fit state to do that. Hollywood junkies are always young, sexy and carfree and so never realistic. Those lead turns are good and the actors clearly trying for awards with their intense performances around a useful script, this picking up minor nominations at the Aussie and peripheral European ceronmines. Both are-and were-class acts and Ledgers death was up their with River Phoenix for wasted talent in the business, superb as the Joker in Nolans Batman, of course. But, alas, its just another tale of two addicts that have it all and cant deal with thier godgiven looks and talents, not a patch on Trainspoting, however young and hip it tries to be. I do like Australian films and enjoy their quirky approach to things but this just felt perfunctory and predictable. The screenplay does edges this above the norm and the poeteic scripting in-keeping with Ledgers character in the film keeping it interesting. But as it disolves into the epectant young people taking drugs movie you do get a little deflated by half-way as you feel the crunch of footsteps on familiar ground, the couple even hocking their wedding ring to box tick those cliches.
The film didn't do any business in America, a feeble $3, 3456 on opening weekend, turning just $45,345 on its cinema release, Ledger not a huge name there back in 2006, although excellent over the pond in the under-rated teen comedy '10 Things I hate About You', three years before. In fact it did little money outside of Australia and you can only imagine how small their pay packets were for this, more about their CVs that pecuniary gain. I'm afraid it has to be filed away in the 'just another young people on drugs movie' and one to watch when nothing else is on guys.
Los Angles Times - "Davies has no new insights into the heroin spiral, but this silly melodrama benefits from the palpable chemistry between Ledger and Cornish".
Las Vegas Weekley - "Hands up if you don't know that drugs are bad for you".
The Times - "I'm not sure there's a lot more to say about heroin addiction, but if there is, Candy doesn't say it".
The Melbourne Age - "For Ledger, it's the opportunity to do the sort of flat-out, high-risk role young actors often claim to be desperate for, but are rarely willing to chase".
Imdb.com - 7.2 /10.0 (11,324 votes)
Metacritc.com - 57% approval rate
Rottentomatios.com - 49%
Radio Times Film Year Book - 4/5
Leonard Maltins Film Year Book - 2.5/4.0
Candy (Armfield, 2006)
Candy - Abbie Cornish
Dan - Heath Ledger
Casper - Geoffery Rush
Schuuman - Tom Budge
Jim Wyatt - Tony Martin
Elaine Wyatt - Noni Hazlehurt
Quick plot summary:
Dan and Candy are a young couple, deeply in love and, due to Dans influence, deeply hooked on heroin. The couple struggle with funding their addiction and use various stageries to scheme money, all of which are heartbreakingly desperate. Abbie, who came from a good backround, also struggles constantly to keep the respect of her parents who aren't convinced by the couples attitudes and desperate lies.
Candy is a modern day love story. I don't mean when we all fall in love we become heavily addicted to heroin and begin to hate one another but the screenplay allows for a more realistic insight to a modern day love affair, one that doesn't consist of Clark Gable sweeping you off your feet with a charming smile and living happily every after. Instead Heath Ledger injects you with heroin and watches the mayhem unfurl.
Neil Armfield, a less than critically acclaimed director managed to capture the stupefying disallusionment of love through the euphemism of heroin. I enjoy this films take on realism and the sad portrayal of people who get stuck in a downward spiral. The film not only portrays an infactuation with needles and passion but also educates the viewer into the horrifying world of a drug addict.
As an audience member I personally felt involved in the film, which is an exceedingly large compliment to the actors and the director of this film, because I came to feel a strong sense of dislike towards Ledgers character, Dan, the poet. Futhermore, I was constantly urging Candy to shed the lifestyle like a pheonix and rise from the flames.
Abbie Cornish I felt delivered an award worthy performance of a young girl trapped between a rock and hard place and who rapdily finds herself collapsing into a breakdown. Some incredible moving scenes towards the end of the film (which I won't reveal, don't worry, no spoilers) really made me emotional, yet this was succeeded in a completely non sappy way. Which leads me to my next point that this is a film designed to be appreciated by both males and females alike as the most soppy, romantic scene see's Dan holding Candy in his arms whilst recieting E.E.Cummings 'I carry your heart' yet due to the nature of Armfield, he has managed to eradicate any chance of pidgeon-holing the film, or even that scene alone, in to the genre of girly rom-com films.
Ledgers performance was fantastic, which of course goes without saying. Having seen him in previous films which were perhaps more prominent in his career, such as the award-winning Brokeback Mountain, I was definitely intrigued to see the contribution he would make in this feature. I was certainly not disappointed, I must say this film certainly convinced me that Ledger is an actor worthy of Ledgendary status and for followers of his career this is an unmissable performance.
The DVD cover itself boats of happiness and love and the title Candy and use of this name depicts a pre-lapsarian state, where innocence has not been corrupted. I think this a great irony put in place by the director and is reminiscent of the way in which A Clockwork Orange (the book) is often printed with a glass of milk on the cover - a symbol of childhood innocence.
The film is actually based on a book by Luke Davies, Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction. I'm yet to read this but I have ordered my copy in the post and am more than excited to devour the written version.
Unfortunately, because the film deals very graphically with tough issues and drug abuse it seems to have repelled a large proportion of society who are afraid to take offense, yet because of Armfields handling of these topics the film avoids any glorification of drug abuse and deminishes any desire to become a part of this world. I strongly believe you shouldn't allow the topic to divert you from the great direction and brilliant narrative of a film that should have been more widely acclaimed.
Candy was released in 2006 and tells the story of two young lovers, artist Candy and poet Dan, becoming more and more involved in drugs, in particular the use of heroin. Candy is played by Abbie Cornish (SOMERSAULT) and Dan by Heath Ledger (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, A KNIGHT'S TALE). Before watching this movie I had not seen any of Abbie's previous work, but was always impressed by Heath's acting, and after his sad death by accidental overdose in January decided to catch up on some of his work I hadn't yet seen.
The film is based on the novel Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction by Luke Davies, which can be found from £4.83 on Amazon Marketplace or in good bookshops. I have yet to read the book but after watching the film I would be interested to see how similar the two are, it comes with excellent reviews.
I cant comment on the appearance of the box as I watched a rental copy, but I looked up the cover on Amazon and it has a fairly sappy picture of the two intertwined and the title in a cheery green. Looking at the cover you could be forgiven for thinking it was a straightforward love story, but the film is entirely more gritty than that.
The movie starts with a dream-like sequence of the two spinning around on a ride while the titles roll and mellow music plays (Song To The Siren - Paula Arundell). Once the film itself starts, early on Candy decides she wants to begin shooting heroin rather than snorting it. Her friends try and dissuade her and urge her to stick with what she knows, but she insists and almost overdoses. When she comes round she says it was the best high she has ever had, and so the downward spiral begins....
Without giving too much of a spoiler, throughout the film things turn more and more for the worse, firstly with Dan and Candy struggling to fund their habit. It begins with seemingly small gestures such as pawning jewellery and goes right up to Candy selling her body. At several points throughout the film the characters seemingly wonder what their life has come to and touch upon stopping, but keep going. The two characters have inreasing troubles with each other also, from being deep in love to little squabbles to bigger, more frequent fights, to Candy not standing the sight of Dan, blaming him for getting her involved in something she, from a good family, wouldn't otherwise have got caught up in.
Overall I found the film entertaining, despite its grim nature, although at times disturbing as I for one feel a little uncomfortable watching footage of drug use, particularly involving needles (sometimes I couldn't look!). Not being a heroin addict myself, I can't comment on how realistic this all was. The storyline wasn't hugely complex, but it didn't really get boring because I felt I wanted to keep watching to see just how bad things got, and to what extent it continued.
The film is rated 15 which I feel was appropriate. Obviously the content of the film is largely based around intravenous drug use, there is also swearing throughout and some nudity, sex scenes and conversations of an adult nature. Some viewers may feel that the content warrants a higher 18 rating, but I feel that throughout the film there is a strong anti-drugs message and a shock element, therefore it could be wrong to stop slightly younger viewers from seeing it. While it does touch on how amazing Candy and Dan feel while they are on drugs, it doesn't really glamourise using heroin and focuses far more on the darker side - problems caused by and getting off the drug.
The acting throughout is in my opinion very good, seems a shame that the film didn't become well-known. when it was released here, no doubt overshadowed by Hollywood releases at the same time as Australian films often are, or Heath's great success in Brokeback Mountain the previous year.
Candy is currently priced at £6.97 on Amazon.co.uk, but can be found at most good DVD shops on or offline. It is also currently on Youtube in parts. I didn't check out any of the special features on the disc, but they are as follows:
Cast and crew interviews
Behind the scenes footage