6.2/10
1,534
30 user 17 critic

Smooth Talk (1985)

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.

Director:

Joyce Chopra

Writers:

Joyce Carol Oates (story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"), Tom Cole (screenplay)
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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Treat Williams ... Arnold Friend
Laura Dern ... Connie
Mary Kay Place ... Katherine
Margaret Welsh ... Laura
Sara Inglis Sara Inglis ... Jill (as Sarah Inglis)
Levon Helm ... Harry
Elizabeth Berridge ... June
Geoff Hoyle Geoff Hoyle ... Ellie
William Ragsdale ... Jeff
David Berridge David Berridge ... Eddie
Cab Covay Cab Covay ... Pick-up Driver
Michael French Michael French ... Stan
Joy Carlin Joy Carlin ... Laura's Mother
Mark McKay Mark McKay ... Bobby King
Carl Mueller Carl Mueller ... Mall Boy
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Storyline

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


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bedrohliches Geflüster See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Rosa, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,785, 17 November 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$16,785, 17 November 1985
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is actually based on the short story by Joyce Carol Oates titled, "Where are you going, Where have you been?". It's often hailed as a literary masterpiece due to the many motifs and insightful views on modern culture. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Connie: You don't understand. I mean, it's not what you think. I'd never do that. It's just... the boys are so nice to you. When we're together... I never knew it was gonna be so nice. Did you ever have a boy hold you close and sing to you? This one boy, Eddie... he sang to me right in my ear. And he held me so sweetly. June, don't you know how that feels? Just to be held like that?
See more »

Alternate Versions

PBS edited 2 minutes from this film for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Teens (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Seduction
Performed by Richard Taylor and David Carlson
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User Reviews

 
Horror story becomes after school special
15 May 2005 | by poccaSee all my reviews

The Joyce Carol Oates story this movie is based on, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You been" would have made an excellent thirty minute short. But to make it into a feature length film a lot of padding was necessary, and the sort of padding used was of the banal, coming of age sort you've probably seen in dozens of television programs and movies already.

Laura Dern is well cast as the blonde, leggy teen-aged Connie, a typical teenaged girl who is neither particularly likable nor unlikable when she and her gaggle of female friends tentatively strut and giggle around boys at a local mall (the drive-in sixties of Joyce's story is updated easily enough to the shopping mall eighties). Later, when she is home alone with Arnold Friend, the very bad character all that flirting has inadvertently attracted (Oates based him on an actual serial killer, Charles Howard Schmid, who murdered several teens in Tucson, Arizona in the mid sixties) she is very convincing when she is shaking and crying for her mother. Oates' story ends with a terrorized Connie departing with Arnold--her fate is unknown, but going by Arnold's threats and crude, brutal banter it seems more likely than not that Connie will be raped and killed. However, in the movie, Connie is brought back home by Arnold a few hours later, a bit shaken but not particularly the worse for wear--in fact she is more thoughtful and kind than she was before towards her nattering mother (well played by Mary Kay Place) and frumpy older sister. In other words, we have gone from Oates to Degrassi High and the horror that characterized the second half of Oates' text (and that the first half was leading up to) has been pretty much bled out of the story.

"Smooth Talk" is worth checking out for the strong performance of Laura Dern in an early role but don't expect Oates.


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