Synopsis: If you could live your life over again would you change anything? Kathleen Turner, portraying Peggy Sue, gets the chance to answer this tantalizing question in Francis Ford Coppola’s acclaimed romantic comedy. Co-starring Joan Allen, Nicolas Cage, Helen Hunt and Jim Carrey, Peggy Sue Got Married is a humorous, heartfelt fantasy about the golden opportunity almost everyone has longed for at least once.
When this movie first came out, I wasn’t at all interested; it looked a little too girly for my tastes and I simply could not be bothered with it.
Over the years, I started noticing the correlations between it and one of my all-time favourite films, ‘Back to the Future’: both were made in approximately the same period, both are time-traveling films, both return to a similar setting, both are about adults reshaping their past, both incorporate love stories, …etc.
Then I realized that ‘Peggy Sue’ was made by Francis Ford Coppola. Well, despite his “hit and miss” record, I imagined it would be a hard tale to fail.
Boy was I wrong!
The set-ups were borne out of old-school theatre. It was hard to watch obvious, over-the-top stuff like that. And the acting was frequently amateurish – especially Nicolas Cage, whose most crucial moment, one where his character becomes overwhelmed with emotion, devolved into caricature.
Speaking of Cage, his character’s teenage voice is an annoying nasal whine that makes you want to hit the guy – surely there’s no way that Kathleen Turner’s protagonist could stand him. As for her, her voice is so smokey, even when she plays a young woman, that no amount of suspension of disbelief can help one forget that she is no longer a youth – not unless her character’s been chain-smoking since the age of five, I mean.
Sigh… while there is an interesting array of actors on display, none of them make the transition from 1985 to 1960 without looking like wannabes: they all still look like adults, except with bad wigs and make-up on. Seriously, it’s horrible to watch all these people, who are clearly 10-15 years too old for high-school, pretend to be kids again.
As for the story, well, it’s a little too saccharine for my taste and the characters’ motivations aren’t clearly enunciated in any way at all – so it’s hard to buy the choices that they make because they simply seem random and ill-advised.
…which leads me to Peggy’s decision to turn to the school geek for assistance.
In trade for his help, she recounts to him the secrets that the future holds – presumably to give him a head start in making his fortune in his adult life. Oddly enough, he ends up being of no help to her at all, and the implications of totally altering the future this way isn’t explored at all. I mean, surely this will destroy many other lives, since this guy will suddenly invent things that others should have staked their livelihood on.
…which, in turn, leads me to the very core of the film: the time-travel.
It is completely unexplained and remains a mystery. Did it happen? If so, how? And, if so, how did Peggy get back from the past into her own life? And how did her life change after having gone back in time? It looks like nothing’s changed, except perhaps her perspective, which both defeats the purpose of the story and defies all logic.
Sigh… there are so many questions left unanswered, it’s maddeming. I’d almost like to go back in time and tell Coppola to shelve this film until a better script could be developped. Because, quite frankly, ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ was a wholesale disappointment and I wish I hadn’t watched it.
Sadly, I can’t turn back the hands on time on this experience. But I sure wish I could.