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Smooth Talk (1985)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance, Thriller  |  17 November 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,097 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 10 critic

A free-spirited 15-year-old girl flirts with a dangerous stranger in the Northern California suburbs and must prepare herself for the frightening and traumatic consequences.



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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arnold Friend
Sara Inglis ...
Jill (as Sarah Inglis)
Geoff Hoyle ...
David Berridge ...
Cab Covay ...
Pick-up Driver
Michael French ...
Joy Carlin ...
Laura's Mother
Mark McKay ...
Bobby King
Carl Mueller ...
Mall Boy


Based on the short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates, this film chronicles 15-year-old Connie Wyatt's sexual awakening in the Northern California suburbs. Before she enters her sophomore year in high school, she spends the summer moping around her family cottage. Connie passes the time cruising the shopping mall with her friends and flirting with boys at a local burger stand. However, her flirting begins to get out of hand when the mysterious stranger Arnold Friend takes an interest in her. Written by Eric Zuckerman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 November 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bedrohliches Geflüster  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When the girls are looking across the street at Franks drive-in we see the gold Pontiac already in the lot, easy to pick out due to the left brake light being out. Then we hear the car coming down the road and see it turn into the parking lot, also sporting the non working light. See more »


Arnold Friend: I wanna introduce myself. I'm Arnold Friend and that's my real name. And that's what I want to be to you, a friend.
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: On the Sunny Side of the Screen (1994) See more »


Come Rain or Shine
Performed by Franke & The Knockouts (as Franke and the Knockouts)
See more »

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User Reviews

The Star Was Born:
11 November 2006 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Since I read Joyce Carol Oates' short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" many years ago as a teenager myself (many Oates' works were translated to Russian - she was and I hope still is very popular there), I've been fascinated by it. I've read many Oates's stories and some of her novels but the 10 pages long story of 15 years old Connie, "shallow, vain, silly, hopeful, doomed— but capable nonetheless of an unexpected gesture of heroism at the story's end" has stuck in my memory and I could never forget it. When I found out that the story was adapted to the screen, I tried to find the movie, "Smooth Talk" (1985) directed by Joyce Chopra and I saw it finally last weekend. A disturbing coming of age drama, the winner of The Grand Jury Prize at 1986 features 18 years-old Laura Dern who appears innocent, gawky, and provocative all at once. Laura owns the film as a sultry woman-child who just began to realize the power of her sexual attractiveness during one long summer that would change her life forever. It does not surprise me a bit that Dern's next movie would be David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" where she played sweet and innocent Sandy and in a few years she would play her best role, Lula Fortune in his "Wild at Heart" (1990). The more I think of Laura, the more I see her as one of the most talented actresses of her generation. She is fearless in taking sometimes unflattering roles and she never lost that aura of innocence wrapped in irresistible sexuality that made her Connie in "Smooth Talk" so alive and unforgettable.

The links to the full text of the story and to the Oates' article about adapting it to the film are posted on the movie's message board. I was shocked to find out what the real story behind the fictional was.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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