Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

peggy sue got married

Francis Ford Coppola has directed some of my favorite films of all time — The Godfather (1972), Apocalypse Now (1979), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Youth Without Youth (2007) — so I decided that, at some point, I should sit down and watch all of his movies. (Call me a Coppola completest if you want.) With 17 under my belt so far, it’s obvious to me that the man is a masterful storyteller. I just don’t always like the stories he chooses to tell.

But that’s not really my problem with Peggy Sue Got Married. Actually, I thought the script was extremely heartfelt; the direction, engaging; and Kathleen Turner, absolutely adorable. It’s just that the production is riddled with so many strange and sporadic weak points that the whole thing comes across flat, overall: The young and recognizable cast relies on rather distracting makeup to appear 25 years older in certain scenes, Nicolas Cage gives birth to one of the most obnoxious characters ever committed to film, and the whole third act of the movie somehow manages to be both bizarre and deflating. The end result is one of my least favorite “time travel” movies to date — and I’m afraid that, in this case, there’s a real need for those quotation marks.

But I won’t trash Peggy Sue Got Married completely. After all, it does achieve a certain degree of charm and mysticism. The women of the cast — Catherine Hicks, Joan Allen, Barbara Harris, Helen Hunt, and a young Sofia Coppola (not to mention Ms. Turner again) — carry the plot a good distance, and it’s quite fun to see a young, scene-stealing Jim Carrey (two years before Earth Girls Are Easy [1988]). Plus, Kathleen Turner evokes some really powerful emotions during the scenes in which she finds herself transported back to her childhood home. The sense of nostalgia is almost overwhelming, and I couldn’t help but think of all of the bittersweet journeys I’ve made back to my parents’ house — the place where I weathered such life-molding storms as puberty and high school. There are also a couple of interesting “mirror” shots worth noting, in which Coppola hides the camera by employing two different groups of actors to play the subjects and their reflections. (They’re not always exactly in sync, but it’s a pretty neat trick nonetheless.)

Still… Nicolas Cage’s role in this one is ultimately unforgivable.

Two pot leafs out of five:
Pot Leaf Pot Leaf

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

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