Chloe Sesta Jacobs

In this column I’ll be focusing on women in film; profiling wonderful directors, writers and characters. While I’ll be open to exploring great female characters in all films, I’m going to concentrate on and celebrate women surrounded by women. 

Now and Then was literally the film of my childhood. I was OBSESSED with the friendship and adventures of the four young women, Samantha (Gaby Hoffmann), Roberta (Christina Ricci), Teeny (Thora Birch) and Chrissy (Ashleigh Aston-Moore). The summer they spent together in 1970 was so wonderful and inspirational to my young mind, I thought they were the coolest girls ever. 

The film starts with the four characters as adults, meeting up again after years of being apart. They made a pact during the aforementioned summer to always be there if they needed each other and they sure as hell aren’t going to break it. Chrissy (Rita Wilson) is pregnant and while she has the support of her husband and Roberta (Rosie O’Donnell), who lives close by, she needs all her babes together. So Sam (Demi Moore) and Teeny (Melanie Griffith), somewhat reluctantly, haul ass back to Shelbyville Indiana to offer their support. 

But let’s be honest, we don’t really care about the characters as adults and while it’s great that they all followed through on their pact to be there for each other whenever needed, time would have most likely been better spent with the teenagers, as they are much more interesting. Sure, this film isn’t exactly some kind of profound statement on getting old, but people do change, right? The four adults are annoyingly similar to their teenage counterparts, especially Chrissy, who is so prudish that it’s just boring. 

Let’s get back to the young women…

Roberta hates her boobs, so she tapes them (“no matter what I do, they just keep getting bigger”), Teeny wishes she had boobs, so she places water balloons filled with pudding in her bra, Samantha is dealing with the separation of her parents in a tight knit community where no one gets a divorce and Chrissy is being fed misinformation by her mother who is trying to keep her young and ignorant about life in general, as well as grappling with issues about her body…normal teenage problems right? Except I cannot believe they are twelve years old. When I was twelve, I was an BABY in comparison. I thought boys were cute, sure, but talking about foreplay while taking part in a Cosmopolitan quiz…far from it. While I wasn’t quite at Chrissy’s level (“what’s a hard on?”), I enjoyed the fact that being interested in sex was years ahead of me. 

These young women wanted independence and the money to raise the treehouse they so desperately needed to achieve it was the focus of their summer…or so they thought. Also obsessed with séances and trying to reach out to the dead, they believe they succeed in raising Dear Johnny’s spirit. He was a young boy that died mysteriously, so they make it their mission to find out exactly what happened, but of course they find out more than they bargained for and learn a lot along the way. Friendship does rule. 

Now I can’t believe I’m saying this, but while Now and Then will always have a special place in my heart, it definitely belongs in my teenage years, along with Panic! At the Disco and my crush on Adrian Brody.  

Chloe Sesta Jacobs is a people and culture geek who loves writing about film and usually does so with her two miniature sausage dogs lying all over her. Chloe really enjoys world cinema and has been heard to say “if it doesn’t have subtitles, don’t talk to me”. She also tweets a LOT at @csestajacobs.