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Film Review Essay - “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” and Smooth Talk
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” written by Joyce Carol Oates. The setting was in a suburban area in the 1960’s, America. The plot of the short story surrounds a teenage girl named Connie. Connie was going around the block experiencing the “Glories” of what a maturing teen girl could do, while at the same time having a poor relationship with her family. One day at a burger joint, she attracts a man named Arnold Friend who pursues her to her house. He threatens her when she's all alone and says if she does not come with him, he will burn her house down and hurt her family. The short story is crucial to read because it depicts how vile Arnold really is,
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Released in 1986, starring Laura Dern as Connie. The book and movie are similar in representing Connie’s behavior and her relationship with her family. In the book, Connie was out and about often. When she was home, she was often condemned by her mom. This is accurate to the movie as well, though it could be argued that her mom was much worse in the movie. On a side note, her dad never made an appearance in the book, but was represented as a “goofball” in the movie.
Arnold Friend differed from the book in his representation of the film. In the book, Arnold Friend was much more threatening. He said many sexual things, that he was going to burn down their house if she did not come out and even threatened his family. In The movie he seemed little more than a sly, omniscient creep. Arnold did say he would break down the door, and hinted at a burning house but was not as blunt about it as in the book. He also did not state anything blatantly sexual. The ending of the movie was vastly different from the ending in the book. In the book it is assumed that Connie is taken to be raped and killed. In the movie, however, Connie comes back home after her car ride with Arnold. It is assumed he does something malicious with her, but he returns her home. She states that he never come back to her house. Connie goes back in and is more welcoming to her family, especially her
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