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Sooner or Later (1979)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | Romance  -  25 March 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 329 users  
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Thirteen-year-old Jessie is in love with Michael, a 17-year-old guitar instructor and aspiring musician. When she finally captures his interest, she lies and tells him she's 16. But what ... See full summary »


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Title: Sooner or Later (TV Movie 1979)

Sooner or Later (TV Movie 1979) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Denise Miller ...
Jessie Walters
Michael Skye
Lois Walters
Bob Walters
Grandma Esther
Eddie Nova, guitar teacher
Make-up artist
The teacher
Edward Green ...
Dr. Donnie
Tara King ...
Cheryl D. Francis ...


Thirteen-year-old Jessie is in love with Michael, a 17-year-old guitar instructor and aspiring musician. When she finally captures his interest, she lies and tells him she's 16. But what will Michael do when he discovers the truth? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance





Release Date:

25 March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sooner or Later  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Jesse is eating dinner with her family, her hair is in a ponytail. When she is in the kitchen to help her mother with the next course, her hair is down around her shoulder. When they return to the dining room, it's back up in a ponytail. See more »


Jessie Walters: [getting into the car] Sorry I'm late. I had to change.
Michael Skye: It's okay, but now you got me wondering what you look like in your uniform.
Jessie Walters: Like them.
[nodding to group of girls nearby]
Michael Skye: Nah. I bet you look just like you.
Jessie Walters: Michael.
Michael Skye: That's okay with me. I kinda like the way you look.
Jessie Walters: Michael, rehearsal. And step on it.
Michael Skye: Say it again.
See more »


Simply Jesse
Music by Stephen Lawrence
Lyrics by Bruce Hart
Performed by Rex Smith
See more »

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User Reviews

Former dreamy teen steeping in ennui of memories
19 April 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Saw this movie on re-run just once, when I was about 13, in 1980. It completely matched my teenaged fantasies of sweet, gentle, interesting — and let's face it — hot — "older" guys. Just ordered it from CD Universe about a month ago, and have given it about four whirls in the two weeks since. As somebody mentioned — I'm haunted by it. As somebody else mentioned — I think it's part of a midlife crisis as well! Being 39 and realizing how much has changed since those simpler '70s times when girls of 13 actually did take buses and go to malls together and had a lot more freedom away from the confines of modern suburbia makes me sad for my daughter — who is nearly 13 herself. Thirteen back then was in many ways a lot more grown up.

The film is definitely '70s but not in a super-dated cheesy way, in fact the outfits Denise Miller as Jessie wears could be current now! You know what they say, everything that goes around... although the short-short jogging shorts worn by Rex with the to-the-knees sweat socks probably won't make a comeback.

The subject matter is handled in a very sensitive way and the characters are treated with a lot of respect. It's not the most chatty movie going — I often wished for more to be said between Jessie and Michael that would cement why he was also attracted to her. But the acting is solid, the movie is sweet and atmospheric, and the fringe characters give great performances. Mary Beth Manning as Jessie's friend Caroline is a total hoot — I think we all had friends like her. Maia Danziger as the relentless flirt with Michael gives a wiggy, stoned-out performance that just makes you laugh — because we also all knew girls that acted like that.

Denise Miller knocked her performance out of the ballpark with a very down-to-earth quality likely credited to her uknown status and being new to the industry. And I think not a little of the credit for the film's theatre-grade quality comes from the very capable, brilliant hands of the story's authors, Carole and the late Bruce Hart, who also wrote for Sesame Street. They really cared about the message of the movie, which was not an overt in-your-face thing, while at the same time understanding how eager many girls are to grow up at that age.

One thing that made me love the film then as much as now is not taking the cliché, easy, tied-with-a-bow but sort of let-down ending. In fact it's probably the end that has caused so many women to return to viewing the movie in their later years.

Re-watching Sooner or Later has me absolutely sick with nostalgia for those simpler times, and has triggered a ridiculous and sudden obsession with catching up with Rex Smith — whom while I enjoyed his albums Sooner or Later and Forever when I was young, I never plastered his posters on my walls as I did some of my other faves. In the past week, I've put his music on my iPod, read fan sites, found interviews (and marveled in just how brilliant he really is — the man has a fascinating way of thinking), watched clips on YouTube — what am I, 13? I guess that's the biggest appeal of this movie. Remembering what it was like to be 13 and the whole world was ahead of you.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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