Now and Then

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
Now and Then Movie Poster Image
'90s coming-of-age movie has some sex, profanity.
  • PG-13
  • 1995
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

If you hide in fear from the curveballs life will surely throw you, you'll miss the good stuff. Grownups aren't always right. Loyalty and friendship are essentials in life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Girls commit to deep friendships at an early age. They demonstrate empathy and loyalty, supporting each other, and sometimes other people, in tough times.  

Violence

Boys throw Jell-O at girls. A burglary and murder are described in a newspaper account. A fatal car accident in which a victim dies of painful head injuries is described in a newspaper article. A boy yells that girls can't play softball and one girl protests by socking him in the face, giving him a bloody nose. A girl pretends to drown, letting friends panic and attempt CPR. A girl jumps into a storm drain to grab the bracelet she's dropped there. A downpour floods the drain and she seems certain to drown until someone rescues her.
 

Sex

A 12-year-old girl is seen looking in the mirror while wearing a bra. She thinks her breasts are too large and tapes them to make them smaller. A girl with small breasts sticks balloons filled with pudding in her shirt to make them appear bigger. As an adult she reveals she's had plastic surgery to make them bigger. A mother gives her preteen daughter misleading information about sex, using gardening analogies. Later, her friends set her straight. Girls watch boys their own age and younger skinny-dip and comment that the oldest boy's penis isn't big. This leads to mention of hard ons. Boys' backsides are seen.

Language

"S--t," "bitch," "hell," "balls," "hard on," "crap," "fart," "ass," "boobs," "nerd," and "poop."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Kids try smoking cigarettes. Adults smoke cigarettes. A man suggests he might have saved his family from harm if he had not been drinking in a bar during an attack on them.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Now and Then, released in 1995, is an emotional and nostalgic look back at childhood through adult eyes. Four 12-year-old girlfriends watch boys skinny-dip, hold séances, live through the death of a loved one, and survive divorce. One of them has her first kiss. Mention of hard ons. A 12-year-old girl is seen looking in the mirror while wearing a bra. She thinks her breasts are too large and tapes them to make them smaller. A girl with small breasts sticks balloons filled with pudding in her shirt to make them appear bigger. As an adult she reveals she's had plastic surgery to make them bigger. A mother gives her preteen daughter misleading information about sex, using gardening analogies. Later, her friends set her straight. Years later the grown women gather to support one in need and find that their early bond remains strong. Language includes "s--t," "bitch," and "ass." Kids try smoking cigarettes. Adults smoke cigarettes. A girl jumps into a storm drain to grab the bracelet she's dropped there. A downpour floods the drain and she seems certain to drown until someone rescues her.
 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydranaqueen September 23, 2017

not bad.

this movie is PG-13 a perfect rating. it's not bad. an innocent kiss between two kids. good movie.
Parent of a 9, 12, and 15 year old Written byKaren S April 26, 2017

Great girl friendship movie with believable girl characters

I showed this movie to mature 6th graders in my Girl Scout troop and it was well-liked. I loved that the girls look and dress like believable characters instea... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bylivibivvy77 October 4, 2017

Great For Everybody

My mom and aunt used to watch this movie all the time. Then, when I was little like 4 I would watch it with my mom ALL the time. This summer we got it for my si... Continue reading

What's the story?

The charms of NOW AND THEN start with its emphasis on how greatly childhood experiences affect adult life. As friends reunite decades later, the movie also suggests that even at 12, adult personalities are already fully formed. Tina (Thora Birch as a girl and Melanie Griffith as an adult) was always boy-obsessed and concerned with her looks so no one was surprised when she moved to California to become a TV star, with no less than four failed marriages to her name. Sam (Gaby Hoffmann, Demi Moore), a seeker damaged by her parents' divorce, becomes a never-married New York writer. Roberta (Christina Ricci, Rosie O'Donnell) was an athlete daredevil who stayed home and became a physician. Chrissy (Ashleigh Ashton Moore, Rita Wilson) was the whiny, hard-headed realist who loved small-town life and stayed. She married a dentist and summons the crew, separated for ten years, for support as she delivers her first child. (The healthy newborn is shown covered with blood.) Flashbacks to 1970 portray a safe suburban childhood with lessons that help the girls grow: If you hide in fear from the curveballs life will surely throw you, you'll miss the good stuff. And, grownups aren't always right. But old friends are true and there when you need them.

Is it any good?

This movie gets off to a slow start, giving the impression that it will dwell in easy clichés. But a solid script and directorial guidance by Lesli Linka Glatter helps the actors achieve surprising depth. Even smaller roles are cast well with Janeane Garafalo as a psychic waitress and Cloris Leachman as a self-obsessed grandmother. It's not surprising, since Glatter was also a producer and director of Homeland and other high-quality TV.

Suburbia here is not shielded from the horrors of the outside world. The girls meet a hitchhiking soldier who was wounded in Vietnam (Brendan Fraser), to whom they spout the cheerleading they've heard on TV about the war. He counters with news -- that this war has no winner and that everyone is lying about it. And while having a fun séance, the girls discover a dead child's headstone in the cemetery. This spurs a quest to discover how the boy died, including a long bike trip to a far-off library. A 1945 newspaper front page lays out his unsolved local murder, shaking their confidence in their illusion of safety at home. Bad things can happen anywhere, at any time. The girls are smart enough to start questioning authority and to wonder about the world beyond their town's comforting borders. The girls discover that their secret humiliations, in one case a girl's parents' divorce, are all part of normal life. And they realize that the supposed models of normality -- TV family sitcoms -- are filled with widowers raising children, while the heartbreaking reality of all those dead TV mothers is never discussed. "It's normal for things to be s--tty," one girl observes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of friendship. What does Now and Then say about the value of knowing people for a long time?

  • How can loss also be an occasion for learning, sharing, and emotional maturation?

  • How do the friends in this movie support each other in difficult times?

  • Is this a "chick flick"? What does that term mean and is it derisive? Are you offended by the idea that a movie about women's lives and friendships would only appeal to other women?

Movie details

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