Judge Patrick Naugle got married...twice!
"Did you two have a fight?"
Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner, Romancing the Stone) is about to get the shock of her life when she attends her 25th high school reunion with her 20-year-old daughter (Helen Hunt, Twister). Peggy Sue spends the evening mingling with old classmates and avoiding her soon-to-be ex-husband, Charlie (Nicolas Cage, Con Air), who left her for a younger woman. When Peggy Sue is crowned the evening's prom queen, she faints and wakes up in 1960 as her 18-year-old self. Suddenly Peggy Sue finds herself reliving her childhood but with the memories of a 43-year-old woman. The question is: will Peggy Sue make the same choices all over again, including falling in love with her untrusting high school sweetheart Charlie?
How can it be that I'm coming up on my twenty year high school reunion? It doesn't seem possible that those short four years in high school are already almost two decades behind me. I can vividly remember being in high school and those short years felt like they would last forever. Those times were filled with a feeling of safety and happiness, protected by loving parents and a solid group of friends and teachers. When I look back at the last few years, they seem to have whizzed by at the speed of life.
I saw Peggy Sue Got Married when I was in high school. I liked it well enough. It was cute and funny and that was that. For whatever reason, I had never revisited the film again until this week. It's funny what twenty years can do for a movie and the person watching it. I didn't—couldn't—get many of the nuances and emotional beats in Peggy Sue Got Married when I was in my teens. Now, after a bad divorce and a second good marriage, I can understand how many of the characters feel in this film. It's a bittersweet feeling to know I've reached an age where I understand nostalgia, regret, and the rush of feelings that come with looking into your past.
Director Francis Ford Coppola's Peggy Sue Got Married is a movie that evokes vivid memories, even if you didn't grow up in the early '60s (or '80s, for that matter). What the movie does is give you the idea of what it's like to feel back in high school again, a feeling that's not easy to recreate. I can still remember high school like it was yesterday, and there have been moments where I wish I could go back and do things differently…but if I could, would I? Or would I just make the same mistakes all over again? That's the question at the heart of Peggy Sue Got Married. Copppla (who also helmed the classic The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now) shows a gentle touch with the material and never rushes the story. It's a movie that gets a lot more right than it does wrong, and that's some kind of wonderful for a movie that teeters precariously between drama, fantasy, comedy, and science fiction.
Coppola makes the decision to use adult actors to play teenagers, and it actually works. While all of these actors are well past their teenage prime, I still bought into the idea that they were the youthful (and older) versions of themselves. Kathleen Turner and Nicholas Cage are funny and touching as a soon-to-be divorced couple who experience first love all over again. Turner is especially good as she experiences all the things her friends and family (in the past) take for granted, including talking to her deceased grandmother and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance—enthusiastically—before class begins. Cage plays the material a little too broadly, but somehow makes the character of Charlie work in the scope of the story. The supporting cast is filled with famous faces, including a very young Jim Carrey (The Truman Show), Catherine Hicks (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), Joan Allen (The Upside of Anger), and Kevin J. O'Connor (The Mummy) as Peggy Sue's fellow classmates. Almost a character of its own, John Barry's touching film score gives Peggy Sue Got Married an extra emotional lift.
At the time, I remember thinking that Peggy Sue Got Married seemed like a rip off of Back to the Future, which was released around the same time. While both films share similarities, they are two very different movies in both story and execution. Back to the Future is about a teenager who goes back in time to make his and his parent's life better. Peggy Sue Got Married is about a middle aged woman who gets the chance to go back in time to make her own life better, and to experience her history in a way she never imagined. Both films are the flip side of the same coin, and while I may like Back to the Future more, I also have a very soft spot in my heart for Peggy Sue Got Married.
Peggy Sue Got Married is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen in 1080p high definition. The transfer looks great, even if this isn't the sharpest Blu-ray transfer around. Colors and black levels are solid and imperfections are almost non-existent. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround in English. The 5.1 track is a mostly front heavy mix that gets its biggest boost from the soundtrack, including Barry's lush score and songs by artists like Marshall Crenshaw (who covers the Buddy Holly song that inspired the title). Although it says on the package there are Spanish and French subtitles, all that's included are English subtitles. There are no bonus features.
Peggy Sue Got Married is a warm, enveloping film that features just as much heart as it does laughs. Francis Ford Coppola's ode to the past and accepting our future is a gem to own on Blu-ray (even without any much needed extra features).
A blast from the past…literally!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
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