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maryann johanson | watching movies at home

Candy (review)

Think Romeo & Juliet on Smack. And not only is Romeo & Juliet just about done to death, so to speak, so is the drugs-are-bad-for-ya horror drama. Still, while this rather harrowing story of romance not so much star-crossed as heroin-addled ain’t exactly fun, there’s a lot of cinematic pleasure to be had in Heath Ledger’s (Casanova) thoroughly un-self-conscious performance as poet Dan, who’s so twisted that he turns his girlfriend, art student Candy (Abbie Cornish, she of breaking-up-Reese-and-Ryan fame), into a junkie out of love, and yet so aware of his own rockbottom loserdom that, in the end… well, I won’t spoil it for you, but remember, kids, drugs are bad in all sorts of different ways, and can mess you up in ways you can’t even imagine, no matter how much you love your smacked-out SO. (The let’s-detox-together scene almost rivals some of Trainspotting’s stuff as an anti-drug warning.) The film — from Australian writer/director Neil Armfield, based on a novel by Luke Davies — comes most to life when the happy couple is joined by Geoffrey Rush’s (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) chemistry professor slash dealer slash enabler: the threesome is a far more twisted and far more intriguing love story than just the youngsters on their own.

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MPAA: rated R for pervasive depiction of drug addiction, disturbing images, language, sexual content and nudity

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