Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

“I had a tough day.”

A former prom queen (Kathleen Turner) married to a philandering car salesman (Nicolas Cage) collapses at her high school reunion and wakes up to find herself a teenager again, living with her parents (Don Murray and Barbara Harris) and viewing her existence from a new perspective.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Barbara Harris Films
  • Coming of Age
  • Don Murray Films
  • Francis Ford Coppola Films
  • John Carradine Films
  • Kathleen Turner Films
  • Marital Problems
  • Nicolas Cage Films
  • Time Travel

Francis Ford Coppola has had a noticeably varied career, directing such indisputable classics as The Godfather (1970), The Godfather II (1974), The Conversation (1974), and Apocalypse Now (1979) in addition to much more experimental and/or independent fare — i.e., Dementia 13 (1963), Finian’s Rainbow (1969), The Rain People (1969), One From the Heart (1982), and The Outsiders (1983). It’s difficult to say which category Peggy Sue Got Married was meant to fit into, but it’s an unfortunate disappointment regardless. Compared (as it inevitably is) with Back to the Future (1985) — the immensely popular sci-fi time-travel tale released the year before — Peggy Sue… comes across as overly nostalgic, lacking in any real narrative tension, and bogged down by the terrible miscasting of Nicolas Cage as Peggy Sue’s insufferable beau and husband:

It’s possible this story could have been salvaged if we cared even a bit more for the flawed man she’s saddled with both as a teen and an adult. Watch either Back to the Future or Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (1997) for a much more engaging take on the topics covered here.

Note: Knowing that Penny Marshall was originally set to direct this title (with Debra Winger in the lead) also puts the entire project in a different, slightly more sensical light.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Kathleen Turner as Peggy Sue
  • Fine period detail

  • Lovely cinematography

Must See?
No; only check this one out if you’re curious.


One thought on “Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

  1. Must-see, as a joyous and very entertaining flick! (Of course, if the viewer is really against Cage here…all may be lost; I happen to think he’s perfectly cast. And it’s not his story, after all.)

    It can be fascinating seeing a director work in a genre he doesn’t normally work in. Although Hitchcock, for example, often had a tinge of light humor in his films, comedies were not his thing (outside of ‘The Trouble with Harry’ and ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’…which he only did as a favor to Carole Lombard). As well, Sydney Pollack did a complete about-face when he directed ‘Tootsie’ – and made comedy magic.

    At this point in his career, Coppola hadn’t really directed comedy in 20 years (not since ‘You’re A Big Boy Now’). But it’s certainly refreshing seeing him so at ease with a frothy and ultimately charming tale such as this. Everyone involved seems to be having a ball.

    Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner (who also co-wrote 1994’s ‘Blue Sky’ but are noted for little else) put together a very knowing and very funny screenplay – with many memorable lines:

    Barbara Harris (*wonderful* as Turner’s mom): Peggy – you know what a penis is. Stay away from it!

    Cage (to Turner): One week you say, “If you love me, you won’t.” The next week you say, “If you love me, you will.” That’s a guy’s line!

    In the cast, I also like Turner’s best buds Catherine Hicks and Joan Allen (with Lisa Jane Persky as ‘the nemesis’); Barry Miller and Kevin J. O’Connor as the ‘other guys’ in Turner’s life, Don Murray as Turner’s dad; and Maureen O’Sullivan and Leon Ames as the grandparents.

    There’s something about this film which I find delightfully wistful and, at times, even moving. (John Barry contributed a very sensitive film score – and the use of pop tunes of the period is perfect in each instance, esp. when Cage’s character is singing and accompanied by others.)

    The film is lovingly presented thanks to DP Jordan Cronenweth and production designer Dean Tavoularis. I think this is among the best films of the ’80s.

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