“I know my Connie; I’ve been watching you.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Meanwhile, we don’t get to know much about Dern’s quirky father (Levon Helm) or dour older sister (Berridge) either, instead following Dern as she spends time at the mall and a drive-in with her two besties (Margaret Welsh and Sara Inglis):
… and is clearly very interested in presenting herself as a sexually attractive young woman (albeit one who puts limits on how far she’ll go). The inclusion of Williams’ character (who we only see in brief snippets throughout the first hour) was actually at the core of Oates’s original story, which itself was inspired by serial killer Charles Schmid.
To that end, the final third of the film is its most creepy by far — but also its most puzzling (and ultimately unsatisfying), given that we’re not explicitly told whether Treat’s character is any kind of killer (or not), and too much is left to the imagination. What is clear is that Dern is somewhat intrigued by (and attracted to) this handsome stranger, while also recognizing the risks he poses to her if she agrees to his forceful demands.
While I admire much about this well-filmed coming-of-age tale (primarily Dern’s fearless, spot-on performance), it’s not must-see viewing except for fans of Dern’s or Williams’ work.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: