Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Freaky Friday

MPAA Rating: PG for mild thematic elements and some language.

Reviewed by: David M. Wheeler
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Family
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 36 min.

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Chad Murray, Stephen Tobolowsky | Directed by: Mark S. Waters | Produced by: Andrew Gunn | Written by: Heather Hach | Distributor: Walt Disney

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Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
 

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: A tomboy teenage girl, Annabel (Lohan), and her widowed mother, Ellen (Curtis), who are always arguing with each other, simultaneously wish they could be someone else, they somehow exchange bodies, as they both learn (or in the mother’s case, remembers) what it’s like to be in the other person’s situation. As nice as that might be, the duo faces a deadline, as the mother is due to get married soon, and doesn’t want to miss the big event (obviously) or for her daughter to get to know her new stepfather (Harmon) a *lot* better than she had expected… There’s also the problem of Annabel finding herself stuck with her mom’s job as a medical doctor (but without any of the training to back it up)!

“Freaky Friday” is one of the best family films I have seen in the theaters in a long time. It is a comedy, whose primary theme is unselfish love. It also touches on some other common family themes (sibling bickering, dating, peer pressure, second marriages). The film includes many positive family themes (abstinence before marriage, respect for adults, priorities in families, sacrificial love) that are wrapped into realistic events that demonstrate the difficulty of making good choices in the real world.

The film will make you laugh, as you watch some of the sillier conflicts of “dramatic” teen-parent battles, and cry as you see sacrificial love demonstrated to other family members.

For tips on parenting, see our Family Answers section

The story revolves around Anna Coleman, a teenager who is going through a difficult time in high school due to various problems with teachers, getting a boy to notice her, and being part of a rock band. Her real trouble lies in her relationship with her mother, Tess. Their conflicts, while focused on the “problem of the day” are really about Tess’ upcoming marriage to her boyfriend Ryan, and the unresolved conflict Anna has regarding the loss of her real dad, who died three years back.

For Christian tips on teens, and answers to many questions sent to us be teens, see our Teen Qs section]

The plot unfolds as Anna and Tess exchange places and they see the other’s life, conflicts, burdens and dreams through the other’s eyes. They also get a unique look at other family members and friends from a new position. The unique position gains them new trust and respect for the other.

There are a few scenes where God’s name is taken in vain, and there are some scenes of family conflict, rude behavior to parents and teachers. The film displays the difficult position of parents in trying to enforce some discipline in a fair and loving manner, not always successfully.

The beautiful part of this story is the main theme: unselfish love. The “curse” on Anna and Tess to change bodies is lifted when they realize their selfish behavior and demonstrate unselfish love to one another. This is a strong theme in the movie, and can be easily used to talk about the love Jesus Christ showed us by giving His life for us. Discussions about how unselfish love are needed in the family and in the church can easily be started by discussing scenes from the movie.

In my opinion, this is a wonderful movie and definitely worth the admission. It is destined to become a family classic!

Violence: None | Profanity: Minor | Sex/Nudity: None

Year of Release—2003

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. It was very humorous and kept me laughing through most of it. I didn’t really find the whole vu-du fortune cookie thing to offensive. I know that in reality God has more power than a fortune cookie. Anna did yell at her mother a lot but I didn’t find that to bad. I know that that’s not how we should act but she does learn that her mother’s life is also hard. It has a very touching ending and I would go see it again if I got the chance.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Stacia, age 15
Positive—This was a charming film. It depicted real life conflict between mother and daughter. “Selfless love” was no doubt proved in the end. =) I would highly recommend seeing this movie over some of the others that are out right now. It’s great entertainment for the whole family! I might even go see it again!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Marie, age 17
Positive—I wasn’t sure if this would be an awkward movie or not, but in the end it was funny and very entertaining. I found myself laughing out loud and wiping my eyes with a salty popcorn napkin several times. There were a few small objections from a Christian point of view, but overall it was OK. There was the inevitable teenager-mother friction and the inevitable teenage crush with the inevitable heart-fluttering kiss at the end. Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis were great and while not a must-see for church youth groups, this film is acceptable for your teen who has to see a movie at the mall on a Saturday afternoon. Better still, go see it together!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Christopher Winter, age 48
Positive—Freaky Friday is a wonderful film for the whole family. A widowed mother (Lee) is struggling to make her teenage daughter (Lohan) happy with her decision to marry another man. A “magic” spell causes them to switch bodies. The mother and daughter soon realize what it is like to be in the others shoes. This film is full of hilarious happenings. I am sure your whole family, young and old, will thoroughly enjoy this film.
My Ratings: [N/A / N/A]
—Katy Young, age 14
Positive—Freaky Friday is a good mother, daughter film. It has a little cussing, but other than that it is a great movie. It has romance mixed in with the humor. It is about a mother and daughter who don’t understand each other very well. Then a Chinese woman over hears them and interferes with it by giving them a magical fortune cookie. You have to see it to find out the rest, I don’t want to spoil it. I definitly would spend the time and money to go see this great family movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Amy Young, age 11
Positive—I found this movie to be a great movie for the family in general. Surely in a film world that is completely saturated with violence, sex, drug use and other highly offensive material Freaky Friday stands out as a movie that is filled with positive family values. Jamie Lee Curtis showed the difficulties of being a single Mom, a professional, etc. It was a refreshing look at how both adults and children alike tend to have a very different opinion on what is really being said. Overall, the movie was halarious and I would probably see it again soon and when it is put out on DVD I am considering purchasing this film.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—James Partridge, age 35
Positive—This is the best film out of most of the Disney movies I’ve seen. The language got a little carried away but, the story still was cool. It is a great family film like most Disney films are. It also has a little something for everyone. It has a great story line. It shows that unselfish love will change them back. This a excellent film and I think you will too.
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 5]
—Emily, age 10
Positive—Freaky Friday was an interesting concept… I think we can all think of at two people that we know in our own lives that could benefit from a little switch like this. Jaime Lee Curtis and her co star in this movie did such a good job in playing one another that for several moments, you got very comfortable with believing that they had actually switched bodies. There were several instances of teenager angst and acting out but that is to be expected in a movie about a teenage daughter and her mother hashing things out. Overall, it was a well done movie… one that the family can enjoy. And I am not ashamed to admit that I nearly squeezed out a tear or two towards the end. Good movie overall.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Ben Webb, age 20
Positive—When my wife wanted to see Freaky Friday, I was a little uneasy… I like the action type. But I was certainly surprized to see that I thouroughly enjoyed this movie. The acting is amazing and I laughed throughout the movie. It’s something that I would take my kids to see. There is one part when the lead character kisses another guy (one thing I will teach my daughter not to do until she’s 80). Enjoy this movie and take your family to see it!
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 5]
—Carlos Ortiz, age 29
Positive—I basically agree that this is a worthwhile, better-than-average family movie. I took my four kids, ages 7 thru 12, to see it, and we all enjoyed it, BUT: I would recommend a discussion with your kids the next day. Have them think for awhile about what in the movie God would be DISpleased with. Discuss as a family their answers, and your answers. Back the “whys” up with scripture. Remind the kids that the folks in the movie were probably not Christians, so did not have the resources that Christians do to do what is right and to overcome sin and evil. Then discuss what God would be PLEASED with. Again, discuss, and back up with scripture. Another discussion question: Why did the mother and daughter know so little about the other’s life? Could there have been deep understanding to begin with, so that this switcheroo would not have been necessary for them to have a deeply loving and understanding relationship? Not only funny and entertaining, this is a great movie for discussion with the family, or anyone, as well—but don’t skip the discussion part!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Gordon Grout, age 37
Movie Critics
…one of the best family-friendly comedies in a summer that is rife with family movies…
—Claudia Puig, USA Today
…some crude language, which deviates somewhat from Disney’s commitment to produce a completely family-friendly work…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…takes a needlessly positive view of such adolescent fads as navel piercing… [There is] also a tasteless, feeble attempt to wring humor out of the grandfather’s hearing loss and advancing senility… the film’s resolutely pro-teen/anti-adult point of view undermines its richer satisfactions…
—Michael Medved, Crosswalk
…isn’t Oscar material or brilliant filmmaking, but it’s funny, generally clean and pro-family…
—Bob Waliszewski, Plugged In!, Focus on the Family
…Harry calls his grandfather, “You old fart.” …Anna sarcastically comments on some clothes being okay if “you’re selling Bibles.”… 8 uses of “Oh my G-d,” 3 of “G-d” and 1 use each of “For G-d’s sakes” and “Oh G-d” as exclamations…
—ScreentIt
…a few morally uplifting, touching scenes… light foul language…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide