Newest Reviews
Tree House, The
Seducao da Carne
Yes, God, Yes
Five Graves to Cairo
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Kat and the Band
Perfect 10
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Traitor, The
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
  Smooth Talk Never Go With Strangers
Year: 1985
Director: Joyce Chopra
Stars: Laura Dern, Treat Williams, Mary Kay Place, Elizabeth Berridge, Levon Helm, Margaret Welsh, Sara Inglis, Geoff Hoyle, William Ragsdale, David Berridge, Cab Covay, Michael French
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's summer, and Connie (Laura Dern) and her two best friends Jill (Sara Inglis) and Laura (Margaret Welsh) have been lazing around on the beach all afternoon when they suddenly realise the time. The immediately jump to their feet and rush to the road where they hitchhike a lift from a passing truck driver, and after making up the excuses to tell their parents they separate for the day. Connie's mother (Mary Kay Place) wonders where she's been, and if, as she says, she has been to the mall why didn't she pick up a couple of paint rollers like she was asked? But Connie has other things on her mind...

Based on the short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates, Smooth Talk won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival the year it was entered, but has gone on to relative obscurity ever since, a rather unfortunate, not to say unfair, fate. Scripted by Tom Cole, it was a slow moving tale that appeared at first glance to be a coming of age story, but after its initial hour the mood of simmering tension boiled over into some non-explicit but uneasy scenes when Connie has attracted the attention of one of the local men, Arnold Friend (Treat Williams).

But before that we are barely aware that Arnold is around save for a brief instance of him staring at Connie through his sunglasses and telling her he is watching her as she walks by. Mainly Smooth Talk takes the form of a family melodrama with Connie outgrowing her parents and better-behaved sister, in a manner that suggests in every parent's worst nightmare their little girl is going to be that bit too independent for her own good, or anyone's good for that matter. She is even outgrowing hanging around at the mall with Jill and Laura, and it's Laura who introduces Connie to a bar where the older people congregate.

Jill isn't interested and resists the allure of the local adults, but Connie finds herself going on dates, if something so informal can be so termed, with young men, though she doesn't want to go as far as losing her virginity to them. Dern is excellent as the lead character, rebellious and vulnerable enough to make you worry that she is going too far which only builds up the suspense for the seemingly inescapably menacing final half hour. Connie's mother is still trying to control her by ordering her to do chores around the house, but it's only after the teenager has been to that bar for the first time that she complies, as if compensating for leaving her mother behind even for one night.

As I say, director Joyce Chopra keeps things moving at a snail's pace as if to replicate those lazy, hazy summer days, but when Arnold appears for his big scenes late on, she sustains the same syrupy forward movement, torturously dragging out the fears of Connie and the audience. Williams' smarminess is needling and insistent, his confidence that he's going to get what he wants disturbing; he's not in the film for long, but he certainly makes his mark. Only the final hint that what happened on that afternoon might have been a fantasy seems like a misstep, an unnecessary confusion, but before that the carefully, studiedly sinister Smooth Talk has been a model of well-handled and mounting anxiety that takes the stance that every man is just after one thing and one thing only, with some more willing to pursue it than others.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 5627 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: