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Awkward first kisses, exciting adventures, best friends, and puberty. Director Lesli Linka Glatter nails all the thrill and novelty of growing up in the 1995 coming-of-age film, Now and Then. Channeling the essence of youth from nostalgic perspectives, four adult women recall the memories they made with one another when they were best friends in grade school. Christina Ricci and Thora Birch give such authentic performances, surely the reason Now and Then’s ensemble cast was nominated for a Young Artist’s Award. Demi Moore and Rosie O’Donnell make up the smooth transition between the exciting summer of 1970 and the “now” of 1995.
While I may not have known what summer was like in 1970, this film finds a way to capture my adolescence in its tales of discovering for the first time that boys may not have cooties, and in its recurring theme of friendship. Friends become more dynamic as we grow older, therefore more fleeting. When we’re twelve, friends quickly become the anchors in our lives amidst the chaos of growing up. Standing up for one another, keeping a secret, and just being great company are the virtues we look for and admire most. A strong message of loyalty and companionship is brought out in the four young girls, and is reaffirmed when the film fast-forwards.
Glatter herself was a strong choice in female direction. She began her career through the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. Her debut short film was nominated for an Academy Award, and she went on to receive numerous recognitions and awards nationwide. Now and Then was her directorial debut in feature-length films, and she has also directed countless episodes of popular television series, such as Lie to Me, Mad Men, Weeds, and Grey’s Anatomy.
Now and Then is available on DVD in select stores nationwide.
–review by LINDSEY MAZUR