.

The Woodsman

Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Mos Def, Eve, David Alan Grier

Directed by Nicole Kassell
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3.5
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
January 6, 2005

In an agonizing scene in a park with a little girl he persuades to sit on his lap, Kevin Bacon digs so deep into the sexual compulsion and self-loathing at war in his pedophile character that what he achieves goes beyond acting. Bacon doesn't beg or receive sympathy for Walter, a desperate-to-reform sex offender. He makes a far tougher request: that we see Walter as human. By any standard, Bacon gives a landmark portrayal. But when the Oscar nominations are announced on January 25th, the timid Academy will most likely deny Bacon and run from a film this raw and powerful.

The Woodsman, potently directed by newcomer Nicole Kassell from a play by Steven Fechter, stumbles over contrivances. Walter, just out of prison after twelve years and hounded by a cop (a very fine Mos Def), finds an apartment that looks out on a grade school. Gulp. And double gulp to the unlikely affair Walter strikes up with Vickie (Kyra Sedgwick), a forklift driver at the Philly lumberyard where he snags a job. Sedgwick (Mrs. Bacon) is a gifted actress, but Vickie's decision to stick with Walter even after he reveals his past is a major reach.

It's Bacon who overcomes all obstacles. This underrated actor, who never got the props he deserved for Mystic River, has found the role of his career. He makes The Woodsman impossible to shake.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com