The Woodsman

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The Woodsman is a 2004 American drama film starring Kevin Bacon as a convicted child molester who must adjust to life after prison. Its name refers to the woodsman from the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood who kills the Big Bad Wolf to save the titular child.


Walter, a convicted child molester, returns home to Philadelphia after serving 12 years in prison. His friends and family have abandoned him, with the exception of his brother-in-law, Carlos. Walter's apartment is just across the street from an elementary school—an obvious source of temptation. He gets a job at a local lumber mill and meets Vicki, one of the few women working there. After sleeping with Vicki, Walter tells her that he molested little girls. Vicki is clearly shocked and disturbed by this new information, but before she can consider how to respond, Walter tells her to leave his apartment.

Walter receives frequent visits from a verbally abusive police officer named Lucas, who makes it clear that he is waiting to catch Walter reoffending. Watching the school, Walter sees a man offering candy to little boys. He realizes that this man, whom he nicknames "Candy", is another child molester. Walter also meets an apparently lonely young girl named Robin who is a birdwatcher. Walter sees Candy abduct a boy, but does not report this to the police. Walter's life takes a further downturn when a suspicious coworker, Mary-Kay, learns of his conviction. She prints out his police record and posts it on the bulletin board at the mill for everybody to see. Some of the employees attack Walter, but Vicki and the boss of the mill come to his defense.

Ostracized and frustrated, Walter leaves his workplace and goes to the park. Vicki, fearing the worst, begins to search for him. Walter ends up meeting with Robin at the park. As they talk, he begins to succumb to his desires and invites Robin to sit on his lap. She politely refuses, but then begins to confide in him. As she starts to cry, Walter realizes that she is being molested by her father. In her anguish, and sensing a similarity between her father and Walter, she offers to sit on Walter's lap, wanting his approval. Walter, realizing her anguish and not wanting to add to it, tells Robin to go home. As she leaves, she gives him a hug. On his way home, he sees Candy dropping off a young boy near the school at night. In a fit of rage and self-hatred, Walter beats Candy up. He then goes to Vicki's home, and she accepts him.

Soon after, Lucas visits Walter's apartment as Walter is packing to move in with Vicki and tells him that a man was beaten across the street the night before, and asks if he knows anything about it. Walter denies any knowledge, but Lucas knows better. He reveals that the boy gave a very good description of the assailant, which fits Walter. He also reveals that "Candy" is wanted in Virginia for raping a young boy. Lucas decides not to charge Walter with the assault.

With Carlos' help, Walter is reunited with his sister, whom he has not seen in years. However, she refuses to forgive him and leaves. In a voice-over discussion in which his therapist tells him that eventual forgiveness may take years, Walter replies that he understands and accepts her anger, and expresses optimism for his own future.


  • Kevin Bacon as Walter
  • Kyra Sedgwick as Vicki
  • Mos Def as Sgt. Lucas
  • Benjamin Bratt as Carlos
  • Eve as Mary-Kay
  • David Alan Grier as Bob
  • Hannah Pilkes as Robin
  • Kevin Rice as "Candy"
  • Michael Shannon as Rosen
  • Jessica Nagle as Annette


  • Peacock
  • Tubi
  • Plex
  • Pluto TV
  • YouTube
  • Apple TV
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Roku Channel
  • Google Play Movies

External links