Parents' Guide to

Now and Then

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

'90s coming-of-age movie has some sex, profanity.

Movie PG-13 1995 102 minutes
Now and Then Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 12+

More sex than I anticipated

A friend recommended this movie to me. She and her nine-year-old son watched it together and really liked it. My daughter is 9, so I made the mistake of watching the movie with her without reading Commonsense first :( I wish i had. Some of the analogies used for sex leave a child questioning. All women have a garden that needs to be watered by a big hose, or well, a small hose that works. My daughter looked at me questioningly, which prompted a discussion... If your child knows about sex and you don’t feel like getting into a penis size discussion, I would now recommend this movie yet. It also makes smoking look cool, because all the girls try it to look cool in front of a young, good-looking Vietnam Vet. Nobody coughs a lot or dislikes it. One of the girls grows up to smoke as an adult.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 11+

Excellent coming of age story

This movie came out when I was a kid, and I was counting down the days until my daughter’s 11th birthday so she could watch it. She loved it! The main characters are 11/12 and it tells an excellent story of the summer they went from little naive kids, to their next stage in life. It also highlights the importance of consent and healthy friendships. The girls say a few bad words, words you can tell they’re experimenting with. This movie doesn’t pretend children are something they’re not, it’s very authentic.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (7):

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.

Movie Details

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