Peggy Sue has the chance to do it all again…
Peggy Sue faints and then wakes up back in time discovering she’s in a rocky on-off relationship with her future soon to be ex-husband.
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) Trailer HD, Movies Trailers Hd and photos © Tri Star Pictures
Did you know it’s not only films that can have sequels? I was surprised to learn that music hits can have sequels too. An example is the original song Peggy Sue, a famous Rock and Roll Buddy Holly hit from 1957. This popular song was followed up with Peggy Sue Got Married and this hit was released in 1960. Sadly, this music track was written by Holly in 1958 and his recording of this song was only discovered after his untimely death.
This latter song- as sung by Holly – was featured as the theme tune for a late 1980s film of the same name. However Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), the film is not a sequel, but a stand alone time travel film. This film was also a drama-comedy and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. His leading lady was Kathleen Turner. Turner gained an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Peggy Sue, the protagonist in this movie.
The film, tells of the forty-something Peggy Sue Bodell who attends her class reunion meet up in 1986, accompanied by her adult daughter Beth (Helen Hunt). She’s recently separated from her husband, Charlie after 25 years of marriage. She’s still hurting from their break up as the couple separated after money problems and his affair with another woman.
To make things worse, Charlie was her high school sweetheart, with the couple marrying after they left school. This is as she fell pregnant just before leaving high school and her 18th birthday. It’s a painful night at the school reunion for Peggy Sue. She has to confess to their old school friends about their breakup.
This event is made even more upsetting for her when Charlie also attends the reunion. Surrounded by her old school friends and Charlie (who attended separately), Peggy Sue faints and wakes up and believes she is in her final days at school in 1960, 25 years before.
After the initial shock, Peggy Sue sees the chance to change her future love life, as she knows it. Along the way, she experiences some treasured moments with her family and friends. She also finds love. However, this film turns your expectations on their head, with a neat plot twist. The 40+-year-old, Peggy Sue on her return to 1960 is not clinging to the hope to find everlasting love with Charlie.
As you might expect from the title. For her, it feels like a second chance at getting her happy ever after ending that she craves the second time around. This twist is that she wants a life without Charlie, her high school sweetheart in the past and the man who broke her heart years later in the present.
Once back in time, her life is also more of an emotional roller coaster for Peggy is reunited with not just Charlie, but her family and their mutual school friends too. But she experiences 1960 as a forty plus woman, but the world sees her as 17 going on 18. Her family and friends appearing as their younger selves.
This reminded me of a bit of a Quantum Leap (1989-93) episode but without Dean Stockwell to advise her, as Peggy Sue inhabits her younger self. Instead of Stockwell, Peggy Sue has the support of a good friend from the present, Richard Norvik (Barry Miller). This as she convinces him that she’s older than she appears and with this confidante, she hopes to make sense of what’s happened to her. With her telling him, the class geek more on what’s to come.
There are many great comedic opportunities as Peggy Sue adjusts to her new reality. In 1960, her first belief is understandable, as she thinks that it’s all a dream. She has a stiff drink, then another (as it’s a dream right?). She’s then reprimanded by her father (Don Murray) for getting drunk. In time, she accepts her reality of being in 1960 and revels in her new “life”.
Peggy Sue confidently tells a teacher just how much she doesn’t need to study algebra. She tells him she knows (for a fact) she doesn’t need to use it in the future. She makes more small changes in her then life. She tells Delores, a bitchy girl at school, exactly what she always wanted to tell her (now that for me, would be worth returning back in time for).
This winning her friends Carol (Catherine Hicks) and Maddy’s (Joan Allen) approval. Crucially, after a bust-up with Charlie, makes a pass at Michael Fitzsimmons (Kevin J O Connor). Michael the moody and poetic boy she always fancied (with her raving to her friends about just how much she wanted to sleep with him in the 1986 class reunion).
In addition, the drama is played out in more emotional scenes. These strong emotions were also wonderfully and credibly portrayed by Turner in some compelling scenes. We see and feel Peggy Sue’s intense happiness on seeing her younger sister (Sofia Coppola) and her mother (Barbara Harris). We share her strong sadness as she hears her grandmother’s voice once more. We understand (and envy) how she felt when rehearing a voice and seeing her family in heart-wrenching scenes.
Peggy Sue also takes the chance to visit her grandparents once more (wouldn’t you?), with some beautifully filmed shots as she visits their country home. This scene, in particular, left a strong impact on me, this scene reminding me of a similar scene in AI Artificial Intelligence (2001). This is when the imprinted Mecha (Robot) child, David is given a chance to spend the day with his adoptive mother (who had passed away many years before),
Her relationship with Charlie is seen as turbulent and rocky in 1960. With the pair breaking up and making up more than Ross and Rachel from Friends (1994-2004). Yet, like Ross and Rachel, the two always seem to be drawn together to be a couple. However, with this relationship is at risk at least twice.
Once, after her pass at Michael, which leads to more than she expected. Also as the older Peggy Sue, who now seems hellbent on venting her anger at her then high school sweetheart. This confusing the younger him as she chides him for his future affair.
Turner is wonderfully empathetic to her character’s plight. She has fun with the comic moments and we can feel empathy with her in those more dramatic scenes. In this role, Turner is dazzling and it’s one where she shows her range as an actress. She makes us believe her character’s predicament easily switching between those comic moments and dramatic ones.
Cage, however, was more irritating than his co-star Jim Carrey. Cage adopted a crazy, unneeded (and wanted) voice as his younger self. This voice reportedly also irritated his co-stars. However, he was quite the screen stealer in Charlie’s musical numbers, with the younger Charlie hoping to be a successful singer. Cage’s competition for the role came from Steve Guttenberg and Martin Short, both of whom also seem more surprising choices.
There’s a few soon to be famous and Golden Hollywood actors to look out for in the cast. Sofia Coppola gave a great underrated and credible performance as Peggy Sue’s younger sister, Nancy. Jim Carrey showed his character in a zany light in both the 1960 and 1986 settings, and this paved the way for many of his crazier characters. Golden Hollywood names appeared as Peggy Sue’s grandparents with Maureen O’Sullivan and Leon Ames, providing some Old Hollywood glamour to the cast.
The film was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design at the Oscars. This was well deserved with those scenes in the 1960s, taking you back to this time in an instant. Turner and the cast’s wardrobe also seemed perfectly in tune with this year. These both easily transporting you back with credibly shot scenes recreating the street scenes, the diners and the fashions of this year.
There is a wonderful and haunting John Barry soundtrack accompanying this film, which added significantly to the more emotional side to Peggy Sue’s journey. I started this post with a question, now here’s another is this film on a Re-Turner back to her school days, or is it a dream? You decide…
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦😦 😦 😦😦😦 /10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 /10
Hulk Rating: /10
This film review was added to Pop Culture Reverie‘s Teen Movie Blogathon. Other reviews with this cast include Nicolas Cage in The Rock and Moonstruck. Kathleen Turner starred in The Accidental Tourist, The Man with Two Brains and more. Helen Hunt appears in As Good as it Gets and Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Don Murray starred in Knots Landing. Joan Allen in The Notebook. Sofia Coppola directed Lost in Translation. Barbara Harris stars in Family Plot.