Joyce Chopra’s Smooth Talk first came on my radar when I was doing A Year With Women, but I couldn’t find it for rent anywhere online so I didn’t watch it that year. Last year I found it at Videodrome here in Atlanta and I finally got to give it a go. I’m not sure what I expected, but this film was not like anything I’d seen before. It’s a masterful adult fairytale about the confusion of teengirldom and the darkness that can lurk in men. On the surface the film’s plot could sound like it is anti-sex, but that’s distinctly not the case. The film is based on Joyce Carol Oates’s 1966 short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, which itself was inspired by a real life serial killer Charles Schmid, known as The Pied Piper of Tucson because he targeted teenage girls. There will be some spoilers after the cut.
I first watched this movie last summer because it was on Netflix and I was in the mood for a rom-com. This film looked cute, but it was widely panned by critics. But, it was written and directed by women and since I was trying to watch more film (especially rom-coms) written by women, I watched it anyways. What I discovered was a perfectly fine rom-com that is nowhere near as terrible (actually it’s quite good!) than you would think from the reviews. I’ve been meaning to write about it for almost a year now, so I had to rewatch it to get all my points fresh. I’m not going to write about everything in the film that I find fascinating, just the highlights. It’s still streaming on Netflix, so you can watch it real quick before you read this or you can watch it after; either way I urge you to check it out, especially if you like rom-coms.