L.I.E. and Hard Candy are not for the faint of heart. This has nothing to do with blood and guts or making puppies suffer — though there is suffering. These two films are about very difficult subjects and while they will make you think, they might also make you wonder why you would subject yourself to such discomfort. So with the disclaimer that this double feature is not a night of carefree merriment, consider this as much a warning as it is a dare.
It’s not giving anything away to say that L.I.E. (2001) is about an older man who seduces an underage boy and the consequences of their relationship. The movie goes a long way in the undoing of stereotypes yet will likely still shock you — in ways you might not anticipate. Fine writing and fine acting support a taboo but sensitive subject. The film won several international film awards.
Sexual predators and underage sex is the subject of Hard Candy (2005) as well, though this film goes in a completely different direction. Juno star Ellen Page dominates — truly dominates — scenes that some have described as torture porn. Whether you agree with that description or not, this psychological thriller walks a fine line. I nearly walked out of the movie because of the unrelenting brutality but was held in my seat by the suspense.
Obviously, these aren’t “feel good” movies. As a double feature, they make for a provocative, dark and unsettling evening. For this dark night, I’d suggest hard liquor, but I’d also recommend you don’t start the self-medication too early in the evening.