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 — Samantha Albertson, the "weird" girl who likes performing seances and whose parents are divorcing (fairly uncommon in the early 1970s); Roberta Martin, a tough tomboy whose mother died when she was four; Chrissy DeWitt, a naive girl who is sheltered by her mother; and Tina "Teeny" Tercell, an outgoing girl who dreams of being famous — reunite in their hometown of Shelby, Indiana.

Chrissy is revealed to be living in her childhood home with her nerdy husband, Morton, and is pregnant with their first child and due to give birth any day. Teeny is now a Hollywood actress who has been married three times. Roberta is now a doctor and is living "in sin" with her boyfriend. Sam is now a science-fiction author and also serves as the narrator of the story. The girls are in Chrissy's backyard, reminiscing about the summer of 1970. Teeny and Samantha have not been back to their hometown in ten years.

The story returns to the early summer of 1970 and the girls have one goal: to obtain the money needed to buy a tree house. While saving money for the tree house and avoiding the Wormers, four brothers who torment them at every chance, they sneak out one night to the local graveyard to perform a seance. To their surprise, they find a tombstone cracked down the middle, leading them to believe they resurrected the spirit of a young boy named "Dear" Johnny.

The local library has no information on him, so the girls head to a town farther away by biking. Chrissy insists that they take a break. The girls rest under a tree, and a bird drops its feces onto Chrissy's head causing them to go to the lake to wash her hair out, which leads to them playing in the lake splashing each other. Roberta jumps from a tree into the lake and floats back up to the surface seemingly drowned, freaking the girls out and trying to decide who should give her mouth-to-mouth. Chrissy hastily says she will but before she can, Roberta spits up water into her face revealing it all to have been a joke, but Chrissy hits her in the face demanding that she "never scare her like that again", and the two chat with Roberta apologizing for what she did and Chrissy stating that Roberta is her best friend. They then see the Wormer boys skinny dipping in the lake not too far away. They make a big deal talking about Scott's penis and the size and talk about erections. They then decide to get back at the Wormers for an earlier prank by taking all of their clothes that are stashed on their bikes by the lake. They get the boys' attention by showing they have their clothes and run off on their bikes making the boys chase them naked as they throw their clothes one by one onto the dirt road as they ride off. They then reach the next town's library. Roberta comes across an article concerning her mother's death, which reveals that she died in a car accident. Samantha then finds some information on Dear Johnny, including that he and his mother died together in a tragic accident. Before they find out more, they see that the rest of the article was torn out of the book, indicating that someone wants to keep his death a mystery.

On the way home, they encounter a returning soldier from the Vietnam War, who they sit and talk to, and also gives them a pessimistic view of the war's progress. The next day, they visit Wiladine, a self-proclaimed psychic, to find out more on Dear Johnny. Using tarot cards, she determines that he was murdered.

Afterward they hear about a softball game being played and head to the field. While the other three watch, Roberta steps up to bat, but hits a foul ball, which prompts Jimmy, the local bully, to declare that girls can't play softball. She walks up to him and punches him in the face, knocking him to the ground, and continues beating him. Samantha, Teeny, and Chrissy break up the fight, but Jimmy insults Roberta's mother's death, which causes Samantha to jump at him and beat him. When she gets home, Samantha meets Bud Kent, a man her mother is having over for dinner. She dislikes him immediately and is cold towards him. Bud spills his drink on himself and takes off his jacket, while her mother gives him her father's shirt. She promptly storms out.

Teeny is seen watching Love Story at a drive-in movie from the roof of her house when Samantha shows up. They decide to go to the store and hang out in the display model of the tree house. Roberta is playing basketball alone in her driveway when Scott Wormer suddenly shows up. They play for a minute and then sit on an outdoor bench by her house. They both question why they fight all the time and share a kiss. After a moment of silence, she warns him, "If you mention this to anyone, especially your brothers, I'll beat the shit out of you." At the tree house, Samantha and Teeny are playing Truth or Dare when Samantha suddenly tells her that her parents are divorcing, to her surprise. She talks about her desire to have a normal family, and starts crying. Teeny comforts her, saying that there is no such thing as a normal family. She then bites her favorite necklace in half and gives one half to her, as a "best friends for life" bracelet.

It starts to rain so they leave the store. As they're riding their bikes, Samantha realizes that her bracelet fell off, and they stop to look for it. Teeny sees it in a storm drain, and Samantha reaches for it. Just as she gets her fingers around it, it slips farther into the drain. She climbs down there to retrieve it, and then the water rises and she begins to drown. Teeny attempts to pull her up, but can't reach her. Just as the situation seems hopeless, Crazy Pete, an old vagrant, sees what's going on, and jumps in after her. He successfully pulls her out and the girls thank him and see him in a new light, knowing that she would have perished had he not been there.

The next day, all four girls are painting Roberta's garage. The Wormers pass by, and while most of them ignore them, Scott, in an out of character gesture, politely greets them, while looking specifically at Roberta. As the Wormers are walking away, the girls ridicule Scott, while Roberta says that he's not so bad. Later, they visit Samantha's grandmother, and ask her about Dear Johnny. She refuses to tell them, however, saying that it would be too much for them. Just then, her bingo buddies show up to get her. She then rushes the girls to get out of the house, and leaves for her tournament. Instead of leaving, they sneak into the attic from the window and search for any more information regarding Dear Johnny's death. They eventually find a newspaper with the headline "Murders Stun Town", proving that he and his mother were indeed murdered. This revelation shocks all four of them as they realize that even their seemingly safe town can be dangerous. Roberta then flies into a rage, appalled that two innocent people were murdered in cold blood and the realization that her mother died painfully, despite her father's claims. Samantha then finally tells the others that her parents are getting a divorce. They then make a pact to always be there for one another, no matter what.

They then go back to the cemetery to perform another seance to put Dear Johnny's soul to rest. His tombstone then rises in the air with a bright light surrounding it, frightening them. A figure appears in the light before revealing itself to be just a handyman. He explains that he accidentally cracked the tombstone with his tractor and they realize that they fooled themselves into believing that they resurrected Dear Johnny. From then on they decide to quit performing the seances, deeming them a waste of time. As they're leaving, they see Crazy Pete in the cemetery. The others leave while Samantha stays behind and follows him to Dear Johnny's new tombstone. She then comes to the conclusion that he is in fact Peter Simms, his father. She comforts him, while he tells her not to dwell on things in life. The two then go their separate ways. Some time after, the tree house is 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 then jumps back to 1991, and Chrissy is in labor. They take Teeny's limo to the hospital, where Roberta delivers the baby, which is a girl. Morton arrives just then to meet his new daughter. Later, the ladies are in their tree house with the baby, playing Truth or Dare. After that and a deep conversation on how happy they are in life, they make another pact to visit more often. They see a group of kids playing Red Rover and join the game. The films ends with one final narration from Samantha: "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 as her father leaves and her parents get divorced (which was particularly shocking in 1970). As an adult, she is a popular science fiction author who has issues committing in relationships. At 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]