For sheer guts alone, one has to applaud the makers of The Woodsman, who must have suffered ear damage from all the doors slamming in their faces when they went around trying to get the film made. "Well, you see, it's about this pedophile..." Although guts won't get you everywhere, and they're no substitute for having something to back it up, the courage apparent in The Woodsman's balanced and humane story of monstrous behavior helps it skate over more than a few thinly scripted passages.

Simply put, Walter (Kevin Bacon) is back in town after serving a 12-year stretch for molesting young girls. He gets a job at a lumberyard where the manager (David Alan Grier, in a rare yet welcome stab at dramatic acting) makes it clear that he only hired Walter due to a family favor. Antisocial to a fault, Walter goes about his work with sullen determination, retreating to his depressing apartment to share the occasional beer with his brother-in-law, Carlos (Benjamin Bratt), the only family member who will even speak to him. Walter goes to a therapist who tries, without much success, to get him to dig a little deeper and to deal with his problem. In the meantime, Walter tries not to stare at the pre-teen schoolgirls who ride the bus he takes to work, and stares sullenly out his window at the schoolyard across the street ("the only landlord in town who'll take my money" he remarks to Carlos's bafflement at his suspicious choice of living quarters).

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