When you think of Francis Ford Coppola, your mind doesn't leap to time travel romances, but damned if he didn't make a fine one in 1986.
PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED is hugely enjoyable, lightweight Coppola, buoyed by some terrific performances and a lot of heart.
Kathleen Turner is terrific as Peggy Sue, about to head to her 25th high school reunion and dreading it. Her famous TV pitchman soon-to-be-ex husband Charlie (Nicolas Cage in one hell of an eccentric, but winning performance) may show up and she doesn't want to face him in front of her class. Her daughter Beth (Helen Hunt) encourages her to go anyway.
At a key moment during the night, Peggy Sue faints and wakes up in 1960, just before her high school graduation.
Charlie is there, along with all her friends and her parents, perfectly played by Barbara Harris and Don Murray. Peggy Sue knows exactly who she is and is still her current age, leading to some hilarious raids on the liquor cabinet and attitudes toward sex with Charlie.
Barry Miller (Saturday Night Fever) is young nerd Richard, who Peggy Sue confides in about her time travel, with well told consequences in the future (present?).
Sofia Coppola shows up as Peggy Sue's sister in the past, showing all the same lack of acting talent that would nearly crash & burn "Godfather III" four years later. She turned out to be one hell of a director though! But anyway....
A VERY young Jim Carrey appears as one of Charlie's friends in the past, showing early signs of his gifts for madcap physical comedy.
Coppola weaves a story of discovery for Turner and Peggy Sue. With the eternal question looming, "What would we change if we could go back and live our lives over again?" the film provides both dramatic and comedic answers to that question.
The scenes with Peggy Sue seeing her long dead grandmother again are powerful and perfectly told.
Turner received her only Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance as Peggy Sue.
Cage makes some interesting, if off-putting choices as Charlie, including one of the strangest voices he's ever attempted. Turner has said she was so taken aback when they started filming that she went to Coppola to question it, but Coppola let Cage roll with it. Turner said it eventually worked for her, using it as just one of Charlie's traits that changed the relationship from their love in the past to their split in the present.
With all the precision you expect from Coppola, but a bigger dose of heart than many of his other films, PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED floats nicely along to a B.