Saturday, December 16, 2006

Candy (2006)

Once I saw a movie that taught me that substance abuse was bad, because even when one person starts out pretty social about his addictions, his partner is likely to get drawn in over her head to a point where she can't stop and some latent crazy manifests itself. Then I saw it again, but with prettier people and heroin instead of alcohol. I guess we haven't learned our lesson, have we?

The thing about Days of Wine and Roses is that it was a melodramatic piece about a couple suffering from alcoholism but one of them was Jack Lemmon. So the whole movie you could marvel at him playing a drama. Watching Candy is pretty much the same experience, but grosser, and you can't be amazed that Heath Ledger is greasily attractive or in an inappropriate and doomed relationship. Its sole purpose seems to be to chronicle the senseless descent of a cute couple into squalor, dead babies and bad skin. With good actors like Geoffery Rush along for the ride.

It's quite likely that all these people read the script and said, “Hey, I can send a good message about drugs and do that playing-a-druggie thing,” which is understandably attractive. There is certainly a chance, here, to explore why certain people fall into certain traps, but other than a belated rant from our heroine about how she's been “clenching her fists” for no apparent reason since she was six years old, we have no idea why these people know each other or why they do drugs. So unless the message is simply DON'T DO DRUGS EVER OR YOU WILL END UP LIKE THEM, they've failed to convey anything deeper. And don't we already know drugs are bad?

The film is not without its nice moments. Candy herself is lovely, Heath is intelligible again (I didn't understand a word he said in Brokeback Mountain), and there are some really great cinematic moments. The beginning is probably the best, with some fantastic footage of one of those spinny rides where the floor drops out and you're squished against the wall. It's very pretty, but it's also a METAPHOR, so try to figure that one out.

Overall, it's somewhat prettily done and no one grossly missteps. But it's also pointless in the sense that nothing is revealed and the audience seems meant to derive cathartic enjoyment from the couple's trials. I can see no other rationale for it, much like pretty much everything on daytime television. But this has cuter people.

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