Now and Then (film)

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Now and Then
Now and Then (1995 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Produced by Demi Moore
Suzanne Todd
Written by I. Marlene King
Starring Gaby Hoffmann
Demi Moore
Thora Birch
Melanie Griffith
Christina Ricci
Rosie O'Donnell
Ashleigh Aston Moore
Rita Wilson
Music by Cliff Eidelman
Cinematography Ueli Steiger
Edited by Jacqueline Cambas
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) October 20, 1995
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12,000,000
Box office $37,591,674

Now and Then is a 1995 film directed by Lesli Linka Glatter and starring Christina Ricci, Rosie O'Donnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Gaby Hoffmann, Demi Moore, Ashleigh Aston Moore and Rita Wilson.

It was filmed largely in Savannah, Georgia, using the downtown squares and the Country Walk subdivision Gaslight Addition and Bonaventure Cemetery and Statesboro, Georgia, highlighting the downtown area. Statesboro locations include the Bulloch County Court House (also featured in the film "1969") and the building now housing the Averitt Center for the Arts.

A dramatic sequence in the film features a storm drain in a rainstorm that is on Statesboro's West Main Street, across the street from Main Street Billiards and near 119 Chops Restaurant.

It has been referred to as a female version of the 1986 film, Stand by Me.

On July 18, 2012, it was announced that ABC Family will be developing the film into a television series by I. Marlene King, who wrote the film and adapted Pretty Little Liars.[1][2] However, the project did not move past the development stage.


In 1991 four childhood friends reunite in their hometown of Shelby, Indiana. Samantha "Sam" Albertson, is a science-fiction writer and the narrator for the story. She was considered the "weird" girl who liked performing seances and whose parents divorced when she was an adolescent. Roberta Martin, a doctor, was a tough tomboy whose mother died when she was four-years-old. Chrissy DeWitt is married and lives in her childhood home. Her first child is due to be born at any moment and is the reason for the reunion. A naive child, Chrissy was overly-sheltered by her mother. Tina "Teeny" Tercell is a successful Hollywood actress who always dreamed of fame. Teeny and Samantha have not visited their hometown in ten years.

The girls reminisce about the summer of 1970 when they had one goal: to save enough money to buy a tree house while avoiding the Wormer brothers who constantly torment them. One night, they sneak out to the local graveyard to perform a seance. A cracked tombstone convinces them that they have resurrected the spirit of a young boy named "Dear" Johnny. They are intrigued about his identity but the local library has no information about him, so the girls decide to bike to the library at a nearby town. Along the way, they stop for a rest and see the Wormer boys skinny dipping in the lake. To retaliate for a prank the boys played on them, the girls steal their clothes, throwing them onto the road as they ride off, the brothers chasing them.

At the library, Roberta happens upon an article about her mother being killed in a car accident, a fact previously unknown to her. Samantha finds information about how Dear Johnny and his mother both tragically died, but the rest of the article is missing, leaving the cause of their deaths a mystery. To learn more about Johnny, the girls visit Wiladine, a self-proclaimed psychic. Using tarot cards, she determines that he was murdered.

Sam unexpectedly meets Bud Kent, a man her newly-single mother has invited to dinner. Sam immediately dislikes him and, upset, storms out, going to Teeny's house. Sam and Teeny go to the store and hang out in the tree house display. Sam says her parents are divorcing. Teeny comforts her, then breaks her favorite necklace in two and gives one half to Sam as a, "best friends for life" bracelet. On their way home, Sam loses the bracelet. Teeny sees it in a storm drain and Sam climbs down to retrieve it. The water rises and she begins to drown. Teeny cannot reach her and Crazy Pete, an old vagrant, arrives and pulls Sam out. Grateful, the girls see him in a new light, knowing he saved Sam's life. At the same time, Roberta has been playing basketball alone in her driveway when Scott Wormer suddenly shows up. They question why they fight all the time before sharing a kiss. Roberta threatens him not to tell anyone about it.

The girls find an old newspaper article in Sam's grandmother's attic about Johnny and his mother being murdered. Roberta is angry that two innocent people were murdered and also realizes that her mother died violently, despite her father having told her otherwise. Samantha confesses that her parents are divorcing, and the four make a pact to always be there for one another.

At the cemetery, the girls perform another seance to put Dear Johnny's soul to rest. His tombstone suddenly rises in the air surrounded by a bright light. A figure appears from behind, but it is only the handyman who explains that the tombstone had been accidentally cracked by his tractor and is being replaced. Realizing they never resurrected Dear Johnny, the girls agree to stop doing seances. While leaving, they see Crazy Pete. Sam lingers behind and follows him to Dear Johnny's grave and realizes he is Johnny's father. She comforts him, and he advises her not to dwell on things. Some time after, the tree house is finally bought, and Samantha gives a narration: "We all used to try so hard to fit in. We wanted to look exactly alike, do all the same things, practically be the same people. And when we weren't looking, that changed. The tree house was supposed to bring us more independence. But what the summer actually brought was independence from each other."

The film returns to 1991, and Chrissy has gone into labor and is rushed to the hospital where Roberta delivers her baby girl. Later, in their old tree house, a deep conversation ensues about how happy they are in life. They make another pact to visit more often. The films ends with Sam's final narration: "You can run from the disappointments you're trying to forget but it's only when you embrace your past that you truly move forward. Maybe Thomas Wolfe never got to go home again but I found my way there, and I'm glad I did."


Samantha Albertson[edit]

Samantha Albertson (Gaby Hoffmann/Demi Moore) narrates the frame story of the film. She is the "weird" one, and believes in the paranormal and leads the seances in the graveyard. Her home life is shaken during that summer ehrn her father leaves and her parents divorce. As an adult, she is a popular science-fiction author who has issues committing in relationships. At age 12, she was the most invested in the mystery of Dear Johnny, the ghost that the girls believe they have resurrected from his grave. She alone learns the truth behind his story, and hears some valuable advice that later, as an adult, helps her to come to terms with her current struggles in life

Roberta Martin[edit]

Roberta Martin (Christina Ricci/Rosie O'Donnell) is the only girl in her house, after her mother died in a car accident when she was four. As a result, she is a tomboy who has issues with femininity and tapes her breasts, plays sports, and won't hesitate to get into a fight with a boy. She struggles to come to terms with death in general and the circumstances of her mother's death in particular. She leads the girls in their rivalry with the Wormer brothers, but ends up sharing a kiss with Scott (Devon Sawa). After it, she finally stops taping her breasts, indicating that she is growing up by her acceptance in being a woman. As an adult, she is a doctor (an obstetrician), and "lives in sin with her boyfriend."

Chrissy DeWitt[edit]

Chrissy DeWitt (Ashleigh Aston Moore/Rita Wilson) grows up under the care of an overbearing, fastidious mother (played by Bonnie Hunt) who shelters her. Her naivete, particularly towards all things sexual, is often laughed at by her friends. When she asks her mother what sex is, she becomes incredibly uncomfortable and compares it to gardening, which confuses her and leads to an adulthood obsession with gardening. She is the "good girl", who chastises the others for cussing (both as a child and an adult). Being the most responsible one, she closely keeps track of the "tree house money", and is always the reluctant party of the others' schemes. However, she is fiercely loyal, and when Roberta pulls a stunt of faking her own death, she rushes to perform CPR. Upon learning that she was faking it, she punches her and yells, "Don't ever do that to me again!" As an adult, she marries the nerdy Morton Williams and lives with him in her mother's old house in Shelby, complete with the girls' old tree house in the backyard. It is the birth of her first child which brings Samantha and Teeny back to their hometown. In the end she and Morton have a baby girl.

Tina "Teeny" Tercell[edit]

Tina "Teeny" Tercell (Thora Birch/Melanie Griffith) lives with her rich country-club parents who are rarely around, which according to Samantha's narration is "typical upbringing for actors and pathological liars." She loves glamour, and likes to dress up, play with makeup, and watch the movies at the drive-in movie that she can see from her roof. She demonstrates the most interest in boys and sexuality of all the girls, and flirts and expresses a desire for bigger breasts. (As an adult, she gets breast implants.) She goes through multiple marriages and becomes a wealthy actress, arriving in Shelby via limousine (which is later co-opted for transporting Chrissy to the hospital when she goes into labor).


The film was released on October 20, 1995 and was critically panned. Based on reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 19% approval rating by critics, with an average score of 4.7/10.[3] Roger Ebert remarked in his review that, although the entire film was obviously heavily modeled after Stand by Me, "[w]hat distinguished Stand by Me was the psychological soundness of the story: We could believe it and care about it. Now and Then is made of artificial bits and pieces." Gene Siskel likewise did not recommend the movie and wished that the story had focused more on the adults than the "inconsequential" story of the children.[4] Ebert opined the reverse. They both praised the talent of all four young lead actresses.


Soundtrack and score[edit]

Columbia Records released a soundtrack album on October 17, 1995. Except for Susanna Hoffs's end credit song, the album was made up of tunes from the period.

  1. "Sugar, Sugar" – The Archies (2:45)
  2. "Knock Three Times" – Tony Orlando/Dawn (2:54)
  3. "I Want You Back" – The Jackson 5 (2:53)
  4. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" – Stevie Wonder (2:39)
  5. "Band of Gold" – Freda Payne (2:53)
  6. "Daydream Believer" – The Monkees (2:49)
  7. "No Matter What" – Badfinger (2:59)
  8. "Hitchin' a Ride" – Vanity Fare (2:55)
  9. "All Right Now" – Free (5:29)
  10. "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" – Supremes/Temptations (3:06)
  11. "I'll Be There" – The Jackson 5 (3:56)
  12. "Now and Then" – Susanna Hoffs (5:34)

Varèse Sarabande issued an album of Cliff Eidelman's score on October 24, 1995.

  1. "Main Title" (3:05)
  2. "Remembrance" (1:57)
  3. "A Secret Meeting" (2:11)
  4. "On the Swing" (1:26)
  5. "It's My Mom" (2:32)
  6. "Spirits Are Here" (2:17)
  7. "Sam's Dad Leaves" (1:56)
  8. "It's a Girl" (1:48)
  9. "Roberta Fakes Death" (1:26)
  10. "Best Friends for Life" (3:07)
  11. "Pete Saves Sam" (2:29)
  12. "The Pact" (3:10)
  13. "No More Seances" (1:44)
  14. "Rest in Peace Johnny" (4:22)


  1. ^ "‘Now & Then’ TV show heading to ABC Family? - Zap2it". 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  2. ^ Stuart Levine (2012-07-18). "King in early development on 'Now and Then' series: 'Pretty Little Liars' exec producer brings show to ABC Family". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes: Now and Then (1995)". Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Siskel & Ebert: At the Movies". Retrieved July 18, 2012. 

External links[edit]