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Peggy Sue Got Married

Year: 1986
Production Co: Delphi V
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Joan Allen, Sofia Coppola, Helen Hunt
This was one of those films that's been on my Must See list almost since the beginning. It's so many years ago now I'm not sure why I wanted to see it, probably something about the time travel theme.

It's essentially Coppola's love letter to a far more innocent time. In his heroine waking up in the 1950s with her friends and family around her as they were, Coppola is the voice of a generation of Boomers pining for a time when things were simpler, when love was fresh and new, when the spectres of divorce, responsibilities and materialism didn't hang over everyday life.

Like Somewhere in Time and Kate and Leopold, neither the reason for nor the potential in time travel is explored, the focus of the movie firmly on the emotional journey of the characters as they deal with it. When nerves cause her to faint dead away at her school reunion, middle-aged mother of two Peggy (Turner) wakes up a teenager at school 20 years before - with her middle aged mind intact.

Deciding not to make the mistakes that have led her life to be the mess it is, she has a new appreciation for her friends, and isn't sure what to do about the advances of her lovable but doltish boyfriend and future estranged husband Charlie (a ridiculously young-sounding Cage).

A grown, independent woman trapped in a teenager's body provides for some laughs - witness Peggy's patriotically belting out the national anthem - but none of them are slapstick and ironically more comedy would have given the movie the strength it needed. The sentiment feels wishy washy most of the time, and neither us nor Peggy get much idea why she's in this situation or what she can do about it. The theme of time travel is touched on but left hanging as she befriends the school nerd she used to ignore - the only one smart enough to explain her predicament.

But an affair with the school beatnik, laughing at her father's purchase of an Edsell and a propensity to drink all add up to a hazy background in the life of a woman with little to say in a movie that suffers the same fate. Early turns by big names add dramatic weight but you get the feeling the whole thing was supposed to be a lot more a cultural event that it was.

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