The Candy Shop, by Whitestone Motion Pictures, is without a doubt one of the most important films of the year. Indeed, it is arguably one of the most important films of the decade. The Candy Shop is described by its creators as “a fairytale about the sexual exploitation of children,” and this proves to be a remarkably clear and succinct summary of the film, which aims at bringing to light the terrible reality of child sex trafficking through a symbolic format. In tackling such a significant social issue, The Candy Shop rightfully deserves praise and attention, but what is all the more remarkable is the quality of the film itself. Other films might have been content in bringing this topic to light, but Whitestone has shown its commitment to the cause it champions by making a truly incredible film.
In many ways, The Candy Shop is like Willy Wonka meets Sweeney Todd with a truly sinister edge. The film opens with its main character, a boy named Jimmy, tending his bedridden mother. Jimmy, it is revealed, works as a paper boy for a local grocer across the street from the titular Candy Shop. The Candy Shop, whose patrons are all adult men, is managed by its mysterious owner (played by the truly incomparable Doug Jones), who is dressed and made up in the manner of some sinister clown; during the one scene where the owner is seen without his makeup, he is revealed to be not merely sinister but withered and deformed as well, qualities that he hides behind his jovial disguise.
Jimmy soon realizes that there is something dreadfully wrong with the Candy Shop, into which young girls are lured never to be seen again. As the Candy Shop owner gleefully explains, “Girls go in, and candy comes out!” And these girls-turned-candy are then sold to the store’s eager customers. And lest we think that only the lowest of the low would even think of supporting such a monstrous practice, the owner reminds us that “I do business with very important people.” The Candy Shop owner enjoys anonymity from his crimes, as people like Jimmy’s employer insist that “it’s none of our business” and turn a blind eye. Jimmy is even tempted toward the corruption of the candy trade when the Candy Shop owner invites him on as an apprentice, and offers him the money he so desperately needs to save his sick mother. But Jimmy finally realizes that he cannot stand by and allow the crimes of the Candy Shop to continue, and he descends into the workshop beneath the Candy Shop to confront the owner and stop the horrible trade.
The film was done in conjunction with the Doorpost Film Project, 12Stone Church and StreetGrace, in an effort to highlight the terrible reality of child sex trafficking, specifically in the city of Atlanta which ranks as the number one city in the United States plagued by this terrible crime, and the tenth in the entire world. One thing that is truly remarkable about the approach this film has taken is that at no point during the story is the topic of sex ever raised. But at the same time, the metaphor inherent in the “candy” symbol is so clear that even someone who has no background on the film’s underlying subject would still clearly see and understand what is being portrayed. This is truly a masterwork of film production and it is truly inspiring to see this much dedication and hard work going into bringing such an important and terrible subject to light.
If you want to know more about what can be done to stop this horrible crime, visit http://stopthecandyshop.com.
G. D. Falksen is continually impressed by the skill, dedication and hard work of Whitestone Motion Pictures and applauds their efforts in bringing this topic into the public eye. More information about him can be found on his Facebook and Twitter.