Reviewed by: David M. Wheeler
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.
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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