The Woodsman


Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2004 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Benjamin Bratt, Mos Def, Eve, Michael Shannon, David Alan Grier

Non-Cast Credits

Nicole Russell, Stephen Fechter, Kevin Bacon, Damon Dash, Brook Lenfest, Lee Daniels, Lisa Cortes, Valerie Hoffman, Dave Robinson, Javier Perez Grobet, Brian A. Kates, Lisa Fruchtman


How does a man overcome his attraction to young girls? How does he cure himself of this obsession and build a new life after being branded a pedophile? Director Nicole Russellís astonishing first feature, The Woodsman, handles this contentious subject with confidence, precision, and optimism.

After 12 years in prison, Walter (Kevin Bacon) returns to his hometown to try and start a new life. He lands a job in a woodyard, meets Vickie (Kyra Sedgwick), and begins a sweet and surprising romance. His brother- in-law (Benjamin Bratt) greets him with open arms and helps set him up in his new apartment. But it is up to Walter to overcome what has plagued him for years. And even if he means well, under the scrutinizing eye of Mary Kay (Eve), the woodyard secretary, and Detective Lucas (Mos Def), one wrong move could cost him everything.

Russell beautifully visualizes her tender and meticulously crafted script while eliciting fantastic performancos from her talented cast. Brave, thoroughly confident, and accomplished, The Woodsman demonstrates a mastery that is astounding for a first effort.


Shari Frilot (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.