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 <email@example.com>
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 »
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.
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Strange mix of growing-pains drama and psychological study
Laura Dern is perfect as lanky lass in a small town sparring with her parents, estranged from her older sister, desperate to be liked and to be with boys. Opening moments of this adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"--with Dern and friends doing the mall--are realistic but nothing too original; second portion of the film, with Laura meeting smooth talking Treat Williams (who comes dressed like the James Dean poster on Dern's wall) is elongated and dry (you can almost feel the director's confidence slipping away). It's an encounter I didn't particularly care for, nor did I buy the rosy ending either. However, there are fine moments in "Smooth Talk", the most devastating of which lies in a conversation between Dern and indifferent sis Elizabeth Berridge (in a terrific performance): Dern recalls a vivid, lovely childhood memory between the two, but after listening and thinking it over, Berridge tells her, "I don't remember..." **1/2 from ****
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