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.



(story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"), (screenplay)

On Disc

at Amazon

2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Flashpoint (1984)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two Texas border guards find a jeep buried for 20 years in the desert, with a skeleton, a scoped rifle, and a box with $800,000 in cash. They decide to keep the money, but quietly check up ... See full summary »

Director: William Tannen
Stars: Kris Kristofferson, Treat Williams, Rip Torn
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Divorced working woman Alex and well-to-do Jewish family doctor Daniel Hirsh share not only the same answering service but also the favours of young Bob Elkin who bed-hops between them as ... See full summary »

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Peter Finch, Glenda Jackson, Murray Head
The Late Show (1977)
Comedy | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A grumpy semi-retired private investigator partners with a quirky female client to catch the people who murdered his partner.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Art Carney, Lily Tomlin, Bill Macy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1940s Texas, an elderly woman is determined to visit her childhood home for one last time.

Director: Peter Masterson
Stars: Geraldine Page, John Heard, Carlin Glynn
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Story of a 1940s photographer who specializes in crime and in not getting involved... until this time.

Director: Howard Franklin
Stars: Joe Pesci, Barbara Hershey, Richard Riehle
Sweet Lies (1987)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

An insurance investigator is visiting Paris on assigment. He is soon made the object of a seduction bet amongst three ladies. Problems arise when the girls realize they are really falling ... See full summary »

Director: Nathalie Delon
Stars: Treat Williams, Joanna Pacula, Julianne Phillips
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An unattractive seventh grader struggles to cope with inattentive parents, snobbish classmates, a smart older brother, an attractive younger sister, and her own insecurities in suburban New Jersey.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Heather Matarazzo, Christina Brucato, Victoria Davis
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Over 16 hours, in February, 1987, a man confronts jealously and rage as a love affair falters. Photojournalist Mel Hurley returns home to San Francisco on the eve of his birthday, expecting... See full summary »

Director: Rob Nilsson
Stars: Rob Nilsson, Consuela Faust, Don Bajema
Shopgirl (2005)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A film adaptation of Steve Martin's novel about a complex love triangle between a bored salesgirl, a wealthy businessman and an aimless young man.

Director: Anand Tucker
Stars: Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A ruthless college student resorts to murder in a futile attempt to marry an heiress.

Director: Gerd Oswald
Stars: Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Virginia Leith
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After his life is saved by a lonely cop, a mobster who moonlights as a stand-up comedian provides the cop with a beautiful young companion.

Director: John McNaughton
Stars: Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Bill Murray
In the Soup (1992)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A neurotic nebbish lives in 2 worlds: the fantasy of winning his dream-girl via a hit movie, and the meager existence he scrapes out from very odd jobs, such as thesping in an arty ... See full summary »

Director: Alexandre Rockwell
Stars: Steve Buscemi, Seymour Cassel, Jennifer Beals


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


Free-spirited fifteen-year-old Connie Wyatt may be too young to drive, but she's already driving the boys crazy. Her suspicious mother wants to keep her safely at home, but Connie would rather while away the languid summer days hanging out with her friends and flirting with boys at the local burger stand. But when she flirts with a handsome and dangerous stranger named Arnold Friend, she must prepare herself for the frightening and traumatic consequences. Based on the short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates. Written by Eric Zuckerman <zuckermn@humans-only.slip.net>

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 »


Cruisin' Love
Performed by Rachel Sweet
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Where is she going?
24 August 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This film showed the arrival of Laura Dern, one of the most gifted actresses of her generation, to full realization. Under Joyce Chopra's direction, Ms. Dern proved she could carry this picture, as well as any other, just on the strength of her portrayal of Connie, the rebellious California teen ager, who experiences life and cruelty in ways she never expected.

If anything, the film might send some viewers to read some of Joyce Carol Oates novels for she is an original and important voice in American letters. Ms. Joyce is a prolific and generous writer who shows a sensibility toward young women in trouble, as it was the case with her magnificent "We Were the Mulvaneys", among other novels.

When we first meet Connie, she seems to be a careless teen ager from rural California, hanging in the local mall with her best friends Jill and Laura. There is trouble at home. Connie is a rebel and her relationship with her mother, Katherine, is not exactly the best. Connie is seen with Laura experiencing with local boys the rituals of flirting.

Connie gets much more than what she bargains for, when the mysterious Arnold Friend keeps turning at the hamburger joint where she hangs out with Laura. Arnold is a creepy individual who, being older, and more experienced man in matters of sex, shows up one Sunday, while her family is away, to entice the young girl with his "smooth talk". This long sequence shows Connie as the vulnerable young woman she is, accosted by a young man intent in getting what he wants.

To say that Laura Dern is perfect in the film, is not to do her justice. She is the whole movie. Her expressions, her reactions, are nothing short of what one would expect from a young woman in the same situation. Treat Williams makes a great appearance as the menacing Arnold. Mary Kay Place, as the mother is also good, as well as the rest of the ensemble playing cast.

Joyce Chopra shows she is a director who likes to takes risks by creating an original film out of Ms. Oates short story.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
15 years old?? Yeah, right gtrz
Treat? Really? yala_bi
Anybody actually seen this? macullen
The Code... cowley_peanut
Effin' Weird burnsker
Treat Williams is a sex god bach_lover
Discuss Smooth Talk (1985) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: