Sunday, July 24, 2016

Movie Review: "Now and Then" (1995)

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Movie"Now and Then"
Director: Lesli Linka Glatter
Year: 1995
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

While back in her hometown waiting for her friend to have her baby, a writer reflects on her youth and the life-changing summer she and her three best friends have in 1970. 

Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter and written by I. Marlene King, "Now and Then" is a coming-of-age story about four young girls growing up in a small town in the summer of 1970. Each character is played by two actresses, one at age 33 and the other at age 12. It stars Demi Moore and Gabby Hoffman, who play Samantha; Rosie O'Donnell and Christina Ricci, who play Roberta; Melanie Griffith and Thora Birch, who play Teeny; and Rita Wilson and Ashleigh Aston Moore, who play Chrissy. Though the film opens and closes with the older set of women, the primary focus of the movie is on the girls in their younger years as they try their hardest to get money for a tree house. Much like "Stand by Me," "Now and Then" has a writer, in this case Samantha, telling the story about the pivotal summer in the lives of her and her friends. Oddly enough, both films also partially revolve around the death of a young kid that the group wants to investigate, though the way each film handles this is very different. Each of the four girls is unique, offering a relatable character for whatever your personality might be. Samantha is the intellectual who likes to read and write, Roberta is the tomboy who tries to hide her developing body, which the polar opposite of Teeny, who is the glamour and beauty-obsessed one who tries to create a false look of development, and finally there's Chrissy, who is the totally sheltered, goody two-shoes who has no idea about the real world other than the lies her parents have told her. The summer begins with this quest to raise money for their tree house, though this plot line quickly takes a back seat to the obsession and investigation of the death of a little boy who died 25 years earlier, one whose tombstone simply read 'Dear Johnny.' The girls learn a lot about themselves, each other, and the world as a whole through this investigation.

"Now and Then" is a fairly touching, sometimes funny, and as mentioned earlier, wholly relatable movie. All the young actresses do a great job and help create a great, engaging story. As for the older cast, none of them are bad, but this whole section seems superfluous and could have easily be cut entirely. It wouldn't have taken anything away from the context of the film. The only real purpose for these sections is to show that despite two of the girls going their separate ways in life, all four of them remained friends and made good on their promise as young kids to always be there for each other when they needed it...we guess that's something. It also feels like this section is included to have Demi Moore's Samantha narrate the entire thing as an adult, which could have easily been handled with a quick line of exposition explaining how she was merely reflecting on that most important summer in their lives. Still, despite a couple of cheesy instances, this is an enjoyable film and the perfect pick for any of the summer months.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 19%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
Last summer, we were watching: "Summer of Sam"

Two summers ago, we were watching: "Stand By Me"

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