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Film / Peggy Sue Got Married

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Peggy Sue Got Married is a 1986 comedy-drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage.

Peggy Sue Bodell (Turner) is a tired woman on the verge of a divorce from her husband Charlie (Cage). She married him at the end of high school when she got pregnant, and their relationship has been rocky ever since. She goes to her high school Class Reunion without him, and meets her old friends again. Peggy is nominated for the reunion's queen, but she faints on stage. When she wakes up, she's in 1960 and has just fainted after donating blood. Can she get back home? Or will she choose to try to start a new life and not get married?

Tropes used in the film:

  • Advertised Extra: Some posters and DVD covers made years after the movie came out feature a picture of Jim Carrey alongside photos of Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, and Helen Hunt. This is despite the fact this was one of his first roles and he has less than five minutes of screentime.
  • All Just a Dream: Peggy Sue suspects during her entire stay in the past that her experiences may only be a dream.
  • And Starring: "Barry Miller as Richard"
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Peggy Sue is the only person Richard isn't snarky to at the reunion. It's implied he likes Charlie because a) he likes Peggy Sue and by extension Charlie, and b) one scene has 1960 Charlie praising Richard as a nice guy who is writing a book, hinting that Charlie never bullied him (In fact, it's probable that Peggy Sue and Charlie as a couple would have been friendly to him post-high school). Peggy is sincerely astonished and pleased to see him at the reunion, too.
  • Best Years of Your Life: Averted. Despite being dropped back into the drama of being a senior in high school with all the attendant relationship issues, social issues, and parental pressure, Peggy Sue spends most of the movie feeling like being back in her teen years is better. Her grandparents are still alive, she can still be close to her sister, her terrible marriage hasn't happened yet, and she doesn't have any adult worries like house payments. Her unborn children are the only thing she seems to miss.
  • Brick Joke: Peggy's grandmother guesses that her husband's lodge just plays poker and watches porno films. Well, the lodge is a cult that worships time travelers (and claims it was founded by one), but after Peggy vanishes, one of the members announces, "Girl's gone! — Let's play cards!"
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: The fraternal order to which Peggy Sue's grandfather belongs. "Girl's gone — let's play cards!"
  • Class Clown: Walter. He's still wacky at the reunion, but he's also hooked on his own cocaine.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Landers: Her grandfather's lodge.
  • Cool Old Guy: Peggy Sue's beloved grandparents, to whom she confides the truth of the situation — and they believe her.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Peggy notes, when telling her grandparents about her life in the future, that she named her daughter after Grandma. Grandma is appropriately moved.
  • Deconstruction: Of Wacky Marriage Proposal. Peggy is turned on by Michael. Until he asks her to have a Exotic Extended Marriage with another woman in a Bohemian chicken farm. Peggy is naturally turned off, and is able to let him down gently by telling him she's allergic to chickens.
  • Foreign Remake: The 2012 French film Camille Rewinds is more-or-less a remake of Peggy Sue Got Married. Ironically, its heroine is transported back to The '80s, which was the Present Day in the original.
  • Foreseeing My Death: When Peggy tells her grandmother she dreamt that she had died, the grandmother is entirely unconcerned, because she already knows when and how she'll die. Her grandfather chuckles that she refuses to tell him the circumstances, but fully believes her. So does Peggy.
  • Future Loser: Charlie, though that's debatable. All we know is he was estranged from Peggy Sue and has a really wacky television commercial akin to Crazy Eddie, and Peggy Sue was unhappy in the marriage.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Peggy's reaction to time travel, even taking an extra drink and justifying it with "what the hell, I'm probably dead anyway". It allows her to drunkenly mock her father for buying an Edsel.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The number of things Peggy Sue knows about the 1980s sound utterly ridiculous from an early-1960s viewpoint. For example, Charlie does think that The Beatles song "She Loves You" would be better with "Ooo's" rather than "Yeah's".
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Peggy Sue tries to change her own life to escape a loveless marriage — and instead rediscovers why she loved Charlie to begin with, while changing several other people's lives for the better. Also, the fact that her children Scott and Beth would never be born is a major reason as well.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Was it a Near-Death Experience as she hears a doctor telling her, or did she really engage in Mental Time Travel? The one chance to test the theory (letting her get hit and killed by a truck) doesn't happen because Peggy Sue doesn't go through with it.
  • Memento MacGuffin: One of Peggy's high school friends at the reunion recognizes the locket that Peggy still wears, saying she remembers how much Peggy loved the trinket when she first received it.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: One happens shortly after Peggy Sue wakes up as her teenaged self in 1960. As her friends drive her home, she's treated to shots of her hometown as it used to be, with vintage clothing and cars everywhere, and "Tequila" by the Champs on the radio.
  • Odd Friendship: Struck up between Peggy Sue and teenaged Richard Norvik, because she desperately needs to talk to someone who can understand what she's going through. However, Richard mentions before the "trip" that Peggy Sue was always nice to him.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: After she wakes up in the hospital at the end of the film, Peggy Sue is uncertain about the reality of her experiences until she sees a dedication to her in a book of poetry by the Bohemian rebel she romanced in the past, referring to their time together.
    • Or it could be Peggy Sue did sleep with him in the real past and lied about it to friends.
  • Peggy Sue: The Trope Namer; Peggy goes back in time to her senior year of high school via Mental Time Travel to "fix" her marriage and relives her high school days.
  • Running Gag: "Why I oughta!" Peggy is still baffled by it. "That's because you're not a jerk", she's informed.
  • Stable Time Loop: Maybe. Peggy Sue is sure she doesn't remember an extended blackout during her high school years, but there is some evidence to suggest that the timeline which existed before her journey back is the timeline caused by her journey back.
  • The Stoner: Walter. He brags that as a dentist, he gets pharmaceutical grade drugs.
  • Temporal Mutability: Peggy Sue and the high school-aged Richard discuss the implications of her travel on the timeline several times, covering many of the major alternatives. Richard calls his theory a "burrito", as he believes time can fold over itself.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: When Peggy Sue finds out Delores told Charlie that she slept with Michael, Peggy blurts in an adult way, "That BITCH!" Her friends are momentarily shocked.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: It's strongly implied that Richard's reunion-era tech-billionaire status at the start of the movie is at least partially the result of all the future knowledge Peggy Sue gave to his teenaged self in the past.
  • Titled After the Song: The Buddy Holly song of the same name was a sequel of sorts to his far more famous "Peggy Sue". The reunion band play the original "Peggy Sue", in fact.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Peggy Sue claims she never slept with Michael. But even before her "trip", she might have and was simply lying about it, since it would have meant she cheated on Charlie.
  • We Were Your Team: Peggy tells her grandparents that after they died, everyone just drifted apart.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Adult Richard plays it down, but does snark at Delores that "every dog has his day".