Another installment of the Bill’s Wife Knows Best Marathon, another incident of nudity, the mind wonders!
Written By: I. Marlene King
Directed By: Lesli Linka Glatter
I thought of Stand By Me when I first learned of Now And Then’s premise. The connection nagged in the back of my head throughout my entire viewing of Now And Then until finally I came to the conclusion that Now And Then is nothing more than a female version of Stand By Me. I’m sure that the people behind Now And Then had to be aware of the similarities- a group of four friends, looking back to the past from the present day, a search across counties for info on a mystery. The similarities are so strong that having seen Stand By Me there was very little chance I was going to fall in love with Now And Then.
Another reason why I didn’t connect with Now And Then was probably the films female sensibilities. Now And Then is very much a coming of age or simpler time story. At the same time it’s a very female story, centering on emotions and moments within the maturation of a female that are very specific to being a girl turning into a woman. I could forgive the film for this, citing my gender as the reason for the lack of a connection. The truth is that there are other movies that are able to tell a decidedly female story and make a connection with me. Now And Then doesn’t work enough to form that connection, it’s sensibilities are narrow to a fault.
I did enjoy the performances of the four youngsters. All four girls fit their archetypal characters very well, while at the same time forming what I thought was a genuine friendship. Of the bunch Gaby Hoffman as Samantha was probably the best, but she was given the juiciest material so that may have had something to do with my recognition of her performance. The supporting characters were also quite good in their small doses. Bonnie Hunt and Hank Azaria were able to bring an energy to the film that was a welcome relief from the lack of spirit shown by the other adult characters.
That brings me to the element of Now And Then that fell completely flat, the four central characters as adults. In a way I could see the personalities of Chrissy and Teeny in Rita Wilson and Melanie Griffith. The same could not be said for Rosie O’Donnell and Demi Moore. O’Donnell chose scenery chewing as her way of trying to take over the picture. All of her dialogue ran false, that wasn’t Roberta saying those things, it was Rosie O’Donnell. Moore chose a restrained approach, so restrained that again I could see her in the role and not the older version of Gaby Hoffman.
Now And Then isn’t just a film my wife calls a favorite, she absolutely loves this coming of age tale. I respect that, but at the same time Now And Then didn’t really work for me. I was distracted by the Stand By Me mimicking, the showy adult acting and the inability of the story to connect with me. I didn’t much care for Now And Then, it’s the weakest of the marathon so far, but hopefully better sights are ahead.
I loved this film as a girl, and I still enjoy it today. When I watch it now I am really brought back to the memories of watching the film as a young girl and also simply being a girl of that age. I will admit, it is a rather cheesy idea that a group of very different girls retain a friendship into their very different adult lives. While I may admit there is some cheesiness in Now And Then that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie.
I very much admired what I viewed as similarities between myself as a girl and the characters of Roberta and Samantha. One being an extreme tomboy who was basically terrified of growing into a woman and the other being obsessed with mystery, the supernatural, and pretty much beginning to reject society’s view on relationships due to her home environment. The other characters, Teeny, who wants to grow to be a woman far too early, and Chrissy, who was incredibly protected from the outside world by her parents, were foreign to me. But I think all put together it makes sure that any young girl can relate somehow to at least one of the characters.
The mystery and comedy in Now And Then is pretty juvenile. Since the movie was made for the audience to be mainly young girls I think that type of comedy works. Of course my daughter enjoys watching this young chick flick with me much more than my husband did, but that is fine with me.