Before watching the movie:
I was originally attracted to this movie for the time travel, but I don’t expect it to be my favorite kind of time travel story. Peggy Sue goes back in time by Macguffinal means and fixes her life. No paradoxes, no knotty time loops, just an opportunity to do it again. The period nostalgia should be fun, though.
I’m very surprised to learn that Nicholas Cage (before he was a joke, if there was ever such a time) plays a lead role in this film.
After watching the movie:
Peggy Sue is attending her 25 year high school reunion with her life a wreck. She’s getting a divorce from her high school sweetheart Charlie because he had an affair. While she’s on stage accepting Reunion Queen, she faints and comes to in 1960. After a very long time, she realizes that this is 1960 and she is not dreaming, and tries to change her destiny, pushing Charlie away and developing new relationships with people in her class she never interacted with before. Charlie stubbornly remains romantically loyal to her, causing Peggy to be torn between the man he is and the man she knows he will be.
I was ready for the story to be about their reconciliation, but I’m surprised and both disappointed and refreshed by the inevitability approach. Peggy does her best to change her life, but nothing makes a dent. The audience is asked to be okay with this. When Charlie confronts her about her one-night-stand with a classmate, he comes to her bedroom and contemplates smothering her with a pillow before waking her up and talking, and it’s supposed to be a good thing that she gives up trying to run.
Much as I would rather not, I cannot proceed without commenting on Nicholas Cage’s voice. Somehow, it’s higher pitched than it is these days, but even breathier. Otherwise, he doesn’t seem much different. Younger, of course, but not worth commenting on. On the other hand, I was a little unsure about Kathleen Turner. She didn’t seem to be made up any differently on either side of the 25 year span, but she was so believable as both I couldn’t tell if she was supposed to look her real age or her contemporary age in the 60s.
This film was completely not what I expected. It wasn’t the comedy I expected, it was a messier romance than I expected, and it wasn’t the nostalgia piece I thought it was either. It was worthwhile, but it was a completely different movie.
Watch this movie: in personal nostalgia, not period nostalgia
Don’t watch this movie: for any Nicholas Cage drinking games that may exist.