Movies with People Who Wake Up as Their Older or Younger Self

Wouldn’t it be great to go to sleep one night and wake up as your younger self? You could redo high school, maybe study a little harder or be more aware of your family and friends, like how Peggy Sue did it in Peggy Sue Got Married. Or maybe you’d want to be able to jump around your personal timeline like the husband in The Time Traveler’s Wife. I can’t imagine how scary it would be to wake up twenty or even thirty years older, going from a child to an adult, and have to navigate the world alone.

The movies on this list all have main characters whose lives broke the classic timeline. So, have you watched all these movies? 

Keywords: 90s style, 2000s style, redo life, redo high school, buddies, comedy, drama, friends, high school, movie lists, satire, unpredictable, while you wait

17 Again

Release: 2009
Director: Burr Steers
Writer(s): Jason Filardi
Production Co(s): New Line Cinema, Offspring Entertainment
Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures

Let’s start the list with 17 Again, where main character Mike is going on 40 and his life sucks. His marriage is crumbling, his job is boring, and his kids hate him.  But he does have an awesome friend, Ned. Anyway, his life changes when he’s transformed back into his 17 year-old self. He’s back to being young and fun, and he’s able to connect with his son and daughter and help them with what’s challenging them.  

The minute you graduate high school, you’re wondering what it would be like if you could go back and start over. 17 Again shows us that even though it’d be great to be able to bend over without cracking our back, nah…we’re happier where we are.

Favorite Scene: When Ned goes out on a date with the school principal (the sexy Melora Hardin), and she shows off her dorkiness by speaking Elvish. 


Release: 1988
Director:Penny Marshall
Writer(s): Gary Ross, Anne Spielberg
Production Co(s): James L. Brooks, Robert Greenhut
Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox
Starring: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard

Twelve-year-old Josh Baskin longs for the freedom and power of adulthood. Feeling small and insignificant, he makes a desperate wish at a carnival fortune teller machine: “I want to be big!” To his shock, the wish comes true, waking up the next morning in the body of a grown man. 

Ecstatic at first, Josh navigates the dizzying world of adulthood – landing a toy company job, navigating complex relationships, and experiencing the thrill of independence. But the novelty soon wears thin. 

Lost in a world he only half-understands, Josh faces adult responsibilities and emotional complexities he wasn’t prepared for. He starts to yearn for the simplicity and innocence of childhood, realizing that “big” doesn’t always mean better. 

Torn between two worlds, Josh embarks on a hilarious and heartwarming journey to rediscover himself, understand the true meaning of responsibility, and ultimately choose his own path, whether big or small.


Release: 1986
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writer(s): Jerry Leichtling, Arlene Sarner
Production Co(s): American Zoetrope, Delphi V Productions, Rastar
Distributor(s): Tri-Star Pictures
Starring: Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks

Life in 1986 feels stale and unfulfilled for Peggy Sue Bodell. Her husband is distant, her career uninspiring, and the nagging feeling of “what if” haunts her. At her 25th high school reunion, she faints and wakes up back in 1960, thrust into the vibrant chaos of her senior year. 

Suddenly, Peggy Sue is no longer a disillusioned housewife, but a spirited teenager brimming with possibilities. Navigating the awkwardness of braces, poodle skirts, and teenage crushes, she grapples with reliving past mistakes and the temptation to rewrite her future. 

With youthful energy and newfound perspective, Peggy Sue embarks on a transformative journey, rediscovering her dreams, facing old demons, and questioning everything she thought she knew about life, love, and second chances.


Release: 2019
Director: Tina Gordon
Writer(s): Tracy Oliver, Tina Gordon
Production Co(s): Legendary Pictures, Will Packer Productions, Perfect World Pictures
Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Starring: Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin

Boss lady Jordan Sanders reigns supreme, commanding respect and fear in equal measure. But life takes an unexpected turn when a seemingly harmless wish transforms her back into her 13-year-old self! Trapped in a body ill-equipped for adult responsibility, Jordan finds herself navigating the treacherous waters of middle school once more. Bullies return, homework becomes a nightmare, and even fitting in feels like an insurmountable task. Yet, amidst the chaos, a surprising transformation occurs. Forced to confront her childhood insecurities and long-buried vulnerabilities, Jordan rediscovers the joys of genuine connection, the power of vulnerability, and the importance of staying true to oneself. This hilarious and heartwarming journey sees Jordan shrink in size, but grow immensely in heart, ultimately learning that sometimes the biggest lessons come in the smallest packages.


Release: 2019
Director: David F. Sandberg
Writer(s): Henry Gayden
Production Co(s): New Line Cinema, DC Films, The Safran Company, Seven Bucks Productions
Distributor(s): XWarner Bros. Pictures
Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou

Billy Batson, a streetwise foster kid jaded by the world, stumbles upon an ancient wizard’s staff. One crackle of lightning later, Billy’s life flips like a comic book page – he transforms into the mighty Shazam!

As a superhero, the awkward teen holds the power of flight, super strength, and the wisdom of Solomon. It’s every kid’s fantasy come true, a chance to be the hero, right the wrongs, and maybe even impress his crush. Behind the god-like exterior, though, lies a confused and scared boy still grappling with loss, abandonment, and the longing for a real family. 

As Billy navigates the exhilarating highs of superpowers and the crushing lows of emotional baggage, he grapples with the responsibility that comes with immense power. Can he reconcile his teenage self with the hero within?

 Shazam! explores the emotional tug-of-war between youthful recklessness and burgeoning maturity, showcasing the complexities of balancing newfound power with the vulnerabilities of growing up. It’s a story of self-discovery, wrapped in superhero action and fueled by the magic of believing in something bigger than yourself.


Release: 2009
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer(s): Bruce Joel Rubin
Production Co(s): New Line Cinema, Plan B Entertainment
Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures

Clare and Henry’s love story in The Time Traveler’s Wife defies definition. He’s a time traveler, cursed to jump through his life uncontrollably, arriving at any age, anywhere. She’s a woman anchored in the present, forever waiting for the man she loves to reappear. Their connection transcends time, their bond forged in whispered memories and stolen moments. However, their love dance carries a heavy burden. Clare navigates the emotional whiplash of seeing Henry arrive older, younger, a stranger, then her soulmate, within minutes. He endures the agonizing wait, the fear of missing crucial moments in her life, and the frustration of his unpredictable existence. Through laughter, tears, and missed birthdays, they grapple with the complexities of a love story defying linear time. “The Time Traveler’s Wife” isn’t just a sci-fi romance; it’s a poignant exploration of love, loss, and the human need for connection, even when bound by the whims of time itself.


Release: 2013
Director: Richard Curtis
Writer(s): Richard Curtis
Production Co(s): Working Title Films, Relativity Media
Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie

At 21, Tim Lake discovers a peculiar family secret: the men in his family can travel through time, reliving and even altering moments from their own lives. Initially thrilled, Tim sees this as a chance to finally score a girlfriend and land the perfect life. 

His time-traveling escapades soon reveal the delicate balance of messing with the past. Missed connections blossom into unexpected love, impulsive changes have unintended consequences, and the joy of reliving special moments clashes with the importance of cherishing the present. 

As Tim navigates the complexities of love, loss, and his unique gift, he learns that true happiness lies not in rewinding the clock, but in embracing the imperfect magic of the here and now. 

“About Time” is a heartwarming and funny exploration of family, second chances, and the power of appreciating every precious moment, reminding us that the most extraordinary journeys often happen right before our eyes.

13 GOING ON 30

Release: 2004
Director: Gary Winick
Writer(s): Cathy Yuspa, Josh Goldsmith
Production Co(s): Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios
Distributor(s): Sony Pictures Releasing

Thirteen-year-old Jenna Rink is a bundle of angst and awkwardness, desperately wishing to escape the trials of middle school. In a fit of frustration, she makes a desperate wish on a magical dust-covered birthday candle: to be “thirty, flirty, and thriving.” The next morning, Jenna stares in shock at her reflection – no longer a gangly teen, but a polished, sophisticated woman in a grown-up world. At first, it’s a dream come true. She’s independent, has a fabulous apartment, and gets the attention she craved. The euphoria quickly fades as Jenna confronts the harsh realities of adulthood. Her childhood friends are distant strangers, her dream job isn’t quite as glamorous, and the man she admired from afar barely notices her. Suddenly, responsibility, heartbreak, and loneliness loom large. Trapped in a body that doesn’t reflect her emotional age, Jenna embarks on a hilarious and poignant journey to rediscover herself. She must navigate the complexities of adult relationships, confront past mistakes, and learn that true happiness doesn’t come from wishing your life away. It’s a coming-of-age story with a twist, reminding us that growing up is messy, sometimes magical, and ultimately, a unique adventure best experienced at your own pace.


Release: 1986
Director: xRandal Kleiser
Writer(s): Michael Burton, Matt MacManus
Production Co(s): PSO Productions, Viking Film AS
Distributor(s): Buena Vista Distribution

Twelve-year-old David Freeman lives an ordinary life until a mysterious spaceship whisks him away on an incredible journey through time and space. When he returns, however, eight years have passed on Earth. He steps out of the craft expecting a warm welcome, only to find himself a stranger in his own home. 

His parents, older and wearier, barely recognize him. His friends have grown into unrecognizable teenagers, leaving him grappling with a painful isolation. While David remains physically unchanged, the world around him has moved irrevocably forward. 

This sudden shift triggers a whirlwind of emotions – confusion, loneliness, and a longing for the life he left behind. Flight of the Navigator delves into the complex themes of loss, identity, and the bittersweet reality of returning home when home itself has evolved, asking the poignant question: can you ever truly go back to where you once belonged?


Release: 1994
Director: Peter Hyams
Writer(s): Mark Verheiden
Production Co(s): Largo Entertainment, Signature Pictures, Renaissance Pictures, Dark Horse Entertainment
Distributor(s): Universal Pictures

In the year 2044, time travel isn’t science fiction, it’s a tightly controlled industry rife with crime and corruption. Enter Max Walker, a hardened Time Enforcement officer, tasked with policing the timestream and preventing illegal alterations to history. 

Max is a man haunted by his past, forever chasing the elusive figure who stole his wife in a brutal time heist. When a powerful senator attempts to rewrite the past to secure his political future, Max finds himself embroiled in a high-stakes chase across time. 

The deeper he digs, the more he uncovers a sinister conspiracy that threatens to unravel the very fabric of time. With the fate of the future hanging in the balance, Max must confront his demons, defy authority, and bend the rules of time itself to set things right. 

“Timecop” is a thrilling action adventure that blends futuristic tech with classic cop drama, exploring the consequences of tampering with the past and the sacrifices we make to protect the future.

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