tek's rating: ¾

Peggy Sue Got Married (PG-13)
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Caution: potential spoilers.

This came out in 1986, but I didn't see it until 2022. Before I watched it I thought I had listed it on my "fantasy movies I want to watch" page, because it involves non-scientific time travel, of a sort. But I actually had it listed under "romantic movies." After watching it, I decided I didn't want to put my review in either category, because I'm not sure whether the time travel actually happened or not, and because I didn't find it very romantic. So instead, I've put it under "seriocomedy". I will say I liked the movie, but not as much as I might have hoped I would.

Kathleen Turner plays Peggy Sue Bodell (née Kelcher), who attends her 25th class reunion with her adult daughter, Beth (Helen Hunt). (It's also mentioned that she has a son, but we never see him.) She's very specifically not attending with her husband, Charlie (Nicolas Cage), because they're getting a divorce, after he cheated on her. (Incidentally, I found Cage's performance off-putting, because he was intentionally doing it "over the top"; the way he spoke reminded me of Pee-wee Herman. Which might be fine for Paul Reubens, but it doesn't make a lot of sense for this character, I thought.) Anyway, Peggy is happy to see her old friends, but still feels very flustered during the reunion, especially after Charlie unexpectedly shows up. When she's voted queen of the reunion, she faints. And wakes up in 1960, after having donated blood at her high school.

So... she's very confused about what's going on, naturally. But after awhile she gets to sort of enjoy being a teenager again (she still looks like an adult, but nobody notices, and I'm not sure the audience is even meant to think so). She's happy to see her parents again, and her younger sister, Nancy (Sofia Coppola). At this point she's been dating Charlie for two years, but she starts pushing him away, since she doesn't want to marry him again (although this would mean she wouldn't have her kids, and she doesn't want to lose them). She also spends a lot of time not pushing him away, and I felt like it was kind of unfair of her to be so indecisive. Meanwhile, she befriends Richard Norvik, who is a rich and famous inventor in the future, but in the past is an ostracized nerd. She shares knowledge of the future with him, in the hopes of making them both rich. At one point, after a fight with Charlie, she goes out with a beatnik named Michael Fitzsimmons (Kevin J. O'Connor, whom I failed to recognize). It's implied that they have sex, though not actually shown. And I couldn't help but think that technically made Peggy guilty of statutory rape (though I suppose Michael could have been 18 already; Peggy turns 18 at the end of the movie, but of course she wasn't really 18). So it's still kind of disturbing that she had sex with someone 25 years younger than her, and that prior to that, she wanted to have sex with Charlie.

What else can I tell you? Charlie is trying to start a musical career, but we already know he fails at that, and ends up taking a job at his father's appliance store. Peggy tries to dissuade him from following his dreams, not wanting him to experience the pain of failure, but of course that just leads to trouble between them. As does the date with Michael, which Charlie finds out about from a gossip who had seen them together (though not that they had sex). Oh, I should also mention that Jim Carrey has a minor role in the movie, as a friend of Charlie's and one member of his singing group; the other members aren't really worthy of mention. And toward the end of the movie, Peggy goes to visit her grandparents (who are dead in the future), and tells them about having travelled back in time, and they believe her. Things get pretty weird when Peggy goes with her grandfather to his masonic lodge, where the members try to send her back to the future with some kind of ritual. (Apparently, this isn't the first time the lodge has dealt with time travel.) But... the ritual gets interrupted by Charlie, who drags Peggy away and proposes to her. I don't want to say how that turns out, but soon afterward, Peggy wakes up in her own time. And as I said, I'm not sure whether the time travel actually happened or not, though there is one possible indication that it did. And that's all I want to say.

It's a decent movie. And Charlie seems like a basically decent guy, but I still never understood what Peggy ever saw in him. Maybe that's unfair, and just because of the over the top performance. Maybe if Cage had acted more normally, I would have liked the character more. But either way, I couldn't manage to care too much about the movie. Still, I'm glad to have finally seen it.

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