Knock three times on the ceiling because Now and Then is finally on Netflix, and oh, honey honey, it’s been a while. The seminal 1995 coming-of-age classic has been unavailable to stream until now, and believe me, it’s definitely worth a re-watch — you might be surprised at how dark it actually was.
Written by I. Marlene King (who would go on to create Pretty Little Liars) and directed by Lesli Linka Glatter, Now and Then followed four friends — Samantha (Gaby Hoffmann), Teeny (Thora Birch), Roberta (Christina Ricci), and Chrissy (Ashley Aston Moore) during a life-altering summer in 1970 Indiana, their budding teenage turmoil mirroring the shifting cultural landscape of the time. That’s the “then.” Bookending the action is the “now,” aka 1991, when the four — now played by Demi Moore, Melanie Griffith, Rosie O’Donnell and Rita Wilson, respectively — reunite for the birth of Chrissy’s first child, and finally solve the mystery of “Dear Johnny.”
For girls growing up in the ‘90s, the movie was a sleepover staple. My friends and I spent hours debating whether we were a Samantha, a Teeny, a Roberta, or a Chrissy. (No one wanted to be a Chrissy.)
These were defining archetypes — were you a brainy writer with cool-ish edge? Sam; a fun-loving diva with dreams of stardom? Teeny; a tomboy with the hots for Devon Sawa? Roberta; a mama’s girl who followed the rules? Chrissy. (The truth is, we were all really Chrissies, we just couldn’t admit it back then.)
Part of the reason these characters were so important was that for many of us, they represented the first time we had really seen ourselves on-screen, in a film written and directed by women. They spoke our language, understood our fears, our desires, and our quirks, before we could name them ourselves. The other part? The banging soundtrack, of course, and the cast, which featured four gifted young performers, then only at the start of promising careers.
So, 24 years later, where are they now?