First-time scriptwriters have written a nice mix of sap and sass for Peggy Sue’s (Kathleen Turner) character, a melancholy mother of two facing divorce who gets all dolled up in her 1950s-style ballgown to make a splash at her 25th high school reunion.
Sure enough, she’s selected Prom Queen. In all the excitement, she collapses on stage – finding herself revived as an 18-year-old high school senior of the class of 1960.
Almost immediately, she realizes she’s returned to her youth with all the knowledge and experience learned as an adult, quickly figuring out that she can alter the course of her future life by changing certain crucial decisions she made as a teenager.
The most important relationship for her is with steady boyfriend Charlie (Nicolas Cage), who she eventually marries, has two children by and only later seeks to divorce because of his infidelity.
What makes this treatment unique is that the jokes aren’t so much derivative of pop culture, but are instead found in the learned wisdom of a middle-aged woman reacting to her own teenage dilemmas.
1986: Nominations: Best Actress (Kathleen Turner), Cinematography, Costume Design