Welcome to Beloved Coming-of-Age Week: Day 2. Initially, I was told to check this film out because it was “sort of” like a female version of Stand By Me, which can’t really be true, can it? Even people who have never seen Stand By Me know about it, know who’s in it, and unknowingly probably quote it as well. I had never heard of Now and Then before this week, and I honestly doubt it’ll stick with me afterward. Yes, it’s about four best friends who are girls, and they are growing up, but that’s really about it. To give you the best idea of what this film is about, let’s ask our old friend, IMDb.
“Four 12-year-old girls grow up together during an eventful small-town summer in 1970.” (IMDb)
Oh. You know you gotta watch a movie with that good of a synopsis…
I’d tell you what it was about myself if I actually knew. When the film began, you see four adult women coming together to witness one of their best friend’s birth. While hanging out they reminisce about the rest of the movie, which is about four young girls and their shenanigans. At first, you think it’ll be about how they make enough money to afford their amazing tree house…but then they’re doing seances out of the blue and they have to discover that mystery that has no real purpose, and then when they get back to the tree house, they just have enough money. How? Did ya’ll rob a dang bank? Finally, the whole adults reminiscing thing is just a gimmick and doesn’t actually add anything to the story.
This is probably a clear example of what I hate about coming-of-age films. Now and then, you’ll get something really good, and then you’ll get this – an aimless film that doesn’t give you enough reason to watch it because there isn’t enough reason for these characters to plainly exist.
That being said, all I am doing is bashing the film to kingdom come. Let’s slow it down and break down what made the movie both bad and good.
PEOPLE SCORE – 7/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 2|Casting – 1|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 2
First up, we have the people score, which received an okay rating. For the most part, coming-of-age tales should shine brightly in this category because no matter the plot, you should always have a good people score because that’s really what the movie is about. What do we have here? Well, the acting itself is not the best. All it really consists of is a few young friends hanging out, most of which are forgettable overall. The characters are diverse enough to grant them full points here. Anybody could have played the characters though, even though I technically have no problem with who is in it as is. There is no real importance or direction for this film, so importance will have to stick at one. But hey, they have okay chemistry with one another, so let’s go ahead and give that full points as well.
WRITING SCORE – 3/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 0|Story – 1|Originality – 1|Interesting – 0
Next up, we have the writing score, which as you can see, didn’t get the best ranking. Why? Well, let’s take a look. I gave the dialogue half points for mostly being typical, run-of-the-mill speech. It’s not balanced, as there is absolutely no real direction and scenes seem to come out of nowhere. The story got half points because it still has the importance of friendship, but that’s about it. It is somewhat original, somewhat not. You can find a lot of movies that are ultimately about nothing elsewhere. Finally, is it interesting? No, rather, it’s really bland.
BTS SCORE – 6/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 1|Music – 2
Next up, we have behind-the-scenes, which also didn’t do the best. First up is visuals, which were aged and mediocre. The directing should have gotten zero for little to no storytelling, but that’s mostly because of the writing. He did his job here. The editing was nothing special. I wouldn’t necessarily consider this as-advertised because it was advertised to me as a girl version of Stand By Me, which is a good coming-of-age film…no thanks. I did enjoy the music choices in the film though. We had some fun 80s music thrown in throughout.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 0|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2
Next up, we have the narrative arc score, which didn’t do too bad at all. The only thing the film didn’t have was pretty substantial, but it didn’t affect the other points, the inciting incident. Literally, nothing happens in the entire film to be deemed an inciting incident, which isn’t super surprising, given how little direction the film ultimately had. Everything else was mostly there, though. The introduction to the girls, the girls freaking out at possible ghosts, the climax and falling action were also intact.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 1/10
Rewatchability – 0|Fun – 1|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience In – 0
Is it entertaining, though? Did you hear that? That was the sound of me silently laughing. I wouldn’t rewatch this if my life depended on it, I wouldn’t buy, nor own this, I don’t want to talk about it ever again, and it does the opposite of sucking an audience in, it expels them! There might be some fun-to-watch moments in the film, but they are vastly far and few between.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 25/50
Coming-of-Age – 5|Stand By Me – 0|Dramedy – 10|Romance – 0|Halfway Decent – 10
Finally, we have the questions that I wrote before seeing the film. First and foremost, how is this as a coming-of-age film? Stereotypically, I consider this the worst of the worst in coming-of-age, but of course, you can tell that’s exactly what it is, so half points it is. I was told this was like a female version of Stand By Me, how true was that? Other than there being four girls in a coming-of-age film, not true at all. Next up, this is listed as a dramedy, how is that? I think, for the most part, it definitely is true. It is listed as romance as well (seriously), so how was that? What romance? It was just four girls hanging out throughout the film! Finally, was it halfway decent? Yes, I think they achieved what they wanted…even though I want to judge them so badly on that exact decision.