Would you rather live in hell with the person you love or dwell in heaven without him or her? Seeking a simplified affirmation or negation is futile. It’s so circumstantial that every story is similar and unique in its own way. Candy is a 2009 directorial debut film, Neil Armfield. He has also co-written it alongside the author Luke Davies, starring Abbie Cornish and Heath ledger, which elucidates their acting prowess to the extent of being an instant classic.
Adapted from the novel Candy is a tale of love and addiction by Luke Davies is a realistic approach to the life of two young heroin addicts. It’s one of the best in its genre as it never goes over the top with emotions, whilst the characters have gravity in them that makes them a part of our society. It makes you wonder, shall we hold back the one we love or let them go and prosper without you?
The film is divided into phases by the director, which precisely traces the journey of Candy and Dan, two artistic heroin addicts, and the first part is signified as “heaven.” Dan had a very liberal prodigal father figure Casper (Geoffrey Rush), an eccentric chemistry professor who understood him. On the other hand, Candy’s parents have a very conservative approach to family matters, making the daughter’s mother relationship almost non-existent and extremely hostile.
Candy finds solace in drugs and Dan, while Dan tries to perpetuate his euphoria for Candy and drugs. They indulge in illicit activities to satiate the craving of the illicit substance, from petty theft to scamming people. Everything was done in order to fuel the need for the substance. Abbie Cornish and Heath Ledger embodied the emotions to perfection with a subtlety. The dilemma of two drug-dependent lovers lying in the arms of each other whilst injecting the same arms with the toxic euphoria is beautifully written and performed. Casper might sometimes help them with cash or some pharmaceutical-grade heroin that he himself synthesized, but things were turning quite challenging for Dan and Candy.
Things progress towards the beautiful absurdity when the craving is so strong that Candy resorts to selling her body, willing to buy the drugs, and Dan’s compliance makes it even more emotionally enhanced. The one underlying beauty is that the purity of love is established by the ignorance of the body and the union of two souls.
Things escalated swiftly, and the director and editors made sure the pacing was optimally done. It made the viewers’ engagement more dynamic. Dan and Candy get an eviction notice, and they get to know that they are expecting a child in their life. As any parent would, they go clean with the drugs. Its portrayal is almost as beautiful as the Trainspotting withdrawal scenes. The pain and angst of feeling the anguish all the time are bewildering, and Cornish and Ledger are more convincing than real addicts. Fever and the perpetual gastrointestinal problems with chills and emotional breakdown tear up a person. They know that one hit and all the pain is gone.
Endurance sometimes takes away things you can never replace, and they break you to the point of no return. Candy has a miscarriage while hysterically trying to fight Dan to get some drugs. This took away their reason to go clean, and a total relapse followed. Candy sold her body while Dan became a bum, and eventually, the house of cards fell apart.
The acting was extremely integral to the film as the performances by Cornish and Ledger were on point. The disgrace of seeing Candy selling her body while keeping a straight face and not being significantly over the top was totally avoided. We see Ledger break emotionally while never ever questioning the integrity of his love and respect for her. The men today should learn that a heroin addict never mistreated her love.
Candy has a mental breakdown, Dan’s prodigal-father dies of an overdose, and he gets separated from Candy. They both have their retributions and try to find some solace. Time flies and Dan starts to work at a restaurant, and a knock takes him aback. It’s Candy, she looks beautiful, and they kiss like it’s the first time.
Dan by now has understood that if he holds her back today, she won’t ever be able to leave, and when you love someone truly, you let them go for a better life, and that is what Dan did. Their love transcended beyond companionship.
Candy is a 2006 Australian Romantic Film directed by Neil Armfield. It is based on the 1998 novel Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction written by Luke Davies. The film stars Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish in the lead role.