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With: Laura Dern, Mary Kay Place, Treat Williams, Elizabeth Berridge, Levon Helm
Written by: Tom Cole, based on "Where Are You Going, What Are You Doing" by Joyce Carol Oates
Directed by: Joyce Chopra
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 92
Date: 03/18/2013
IMDB

Smooth Talk (1986)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Teen and Not Heard

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based on a story by Joyce Carol Oates, Smooth Talk was one of the first films I ever saw that treatedteen sexuality as a serious subject. It startled me to see the beautiful, awkwardConnie Wyatt (Laura Dern) experimenting with her looks and feelings, hoping tobe noticed, but shy about her appearance. The film's first hour is full ofgreat little scenes of this nature, fully exploring this awkward character invarious situations and featuring a great performance by Dern. But unfortunatelythe film's plot kicks in and a mysterious stranger who calls himself "A.Friend" (Treat Williams) turns up and intrigues her with his combinationof raw sexual appeal and threatening menace. Williams' performance is toomannered, as if geared towards a 1950s juvenile delinquent film, and the filmends up grinding its gears, forcing events to turn into an even conclusion. Addto this a soundtrack full of James Taylor songs and you have mixed cues as tomood and period. Still, this film really got to me as a teenager, and I can'tdiscredit it for that.

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