6.2/10
1,605
31 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)
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:

Smooth Talk See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Rosa, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,785, 17 November 1985

Gross USA:

$16,785

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,785
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

Although filmed in Northern California, the look of the film was also meant to be infused with East Coast imagery, based on Director Joyce Chopra and Writer Tom Cole's home of Kent, CT. Additional inspiration came from photographer Joel Meyerowitz's 1979 book Cape Light, a collection of images from Cape Cod, MA. A scene in the film where Connie hides from Friend in her home's hallway was specifically modeled after one of Meyerowitz's photos. 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

Katherine: I look at you. I look right in your eyes... and all I see are a bunch of trashy daydreams.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Robert Redford (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Is That the Way You Look
Performed by James Taylor
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Where is she going?
24 August 2005 | by jotix100See 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.


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