Smooth Talk

1hr 32mins
Directed by
Joyce Chopra
Laura Dern, Treat Williams, Mary Kay Place

Through our Virtual Screening Room, you can rent films curated by the Coolidge team, while helping to support the Coolidge during this unprecedented time.

Suspended between carefree youth and the harsh realities of the adult world, a teenage girl experiences an unsettling awakening in this haunting vision of innocence lost. Based on Joyce Carol Oates’ celebrated short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” and produced for PBS’s American Playhouse, the narrative debut from director Joyce Chopra features a revelatory breakout performance from Laura Dern as Connie, the fifteen-year-old black sheep of her family whose summertime idyll of beach trips, mall hangouts, and innocent flirtations is shattered by an encounter with a mysterious stranger (a memorably menacing Treat Williams).

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Smooth Talk captures the thrill and terror of adolescent sexual exploration as it transforms the ingredients of a standard coming of age portrait into something altogether more troubling and profound.

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Plus, director Joyce Chopra joined us for a livestreamed Q&A moderated by Coolidge Director of Marketing & Development Beth Gilligan. Watch here or at the embedded video below:

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Review Text

An uncannily assured look at teenage anxieties. Throughout, Joyce Chopra patiently and shrewdly observes the contradictions of human behavior that Laura Dern brilliantly conveys.

Review Author
Jake Cole
Review Publication
Slant Magazine
Review Text

Magical! Equal parts teen movie, mother-daughter drama, and psychological horror ... No less miraculous is Smooth Talk’s ability to feel brand new, despite having been filmed more than thirty years ago.

Review Author
Anne Cohen
Review Publication
Review Text

Deserves classic status ... the new 4K restoration getting a run in American virtual cinemas this weekend does a great service by boosting the profile of a major work from an artist who never got her due.

Review Author
Charles Bramesco
Review Publication
Little White Lies