‘We’re the coolest people in McDonald’s,’ says Candy, played by Australian actress Abbie Cornish, to her new husband Dan (Heath Ledger). The young couple has just come from their intimate wedding reception at Candy’s parents’ suburban home, complete with hors d’oeuvres and heroin hits in the bathroom.
Perhaps it is the film’s title, or maybe the presence of a child-like motif throughout, or maybe it’s the fun and friendly yet ghost-like father figure named Casper (Geoffrey Rush), that makes ‘Candy,’ which opens Friday, Dec. 1, feel more centered on a premature love affair between a boy and girl rather than one between a boy, a girl and a drug.
In the film, directed by Neil Armfield, a beautiful young painter named Candace, or Candy for short, is falling in love with a poet named Dan, a veteran drug user. Candy is a new recruit who embraces Dan’s lifestyle to become closer to him and also to escape her parents and their middle-class lifestyle.
Candy and Dan become addicted to the drug and to each other, and their addictions lead to a roller coaster of bittersweet joy and despair. Through love and lust, stealing and lying, conception and death, Candy and Dan’s relationship serves not only as the focal point in the film, but also as an addictive drug in itself for the audience.
As a narrative about drugs, the film falls short. Compared to ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream,’ ‘Candy’ fails to take the audience into the harsh world of recreational drugs. The plot is nothing special