The Woodsman

Director: Nicole Kassell
Screenwriters: Steven Fechter, Nicole Kassell

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


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 Kassell's 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.

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

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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