I really liked this idea, since I tend to rewatch quite a lot of my favourite movies and TV shows from time to time. A “childhood” movie for me was sometimes a film that my dad watched while I sat next to him on the couch…rather lost and unsure. Especially if there were some explicit sexual references and I’d be secretly thinking, “Am I a bit too young to be watching this?” Even today, I still enjoy possibly rather inappropriate “childhood” joys like Frasier and Twin Peaks.
But I’ve decided to relive a more proper “childhood” movie instead, because I doubt I’ll enjoy covering There’s Something About Mary as a so-called “childhood” movie. So here’s my take after rewatching the delightful The Parent Trap (Nancy Meyers, 1998):
I absolutely loved it when I was a kid, but what about as a 20-year-old almost-adult (i.e. now)?
Ah, a time when Lindsay Lohan wasn’t…well, being the Lindsay Lohan of today. The Parent Trap was one of the first films I felt I could really identify with – though weirdly enough I didn’t have a missing twin or divorced parents (yet). I watched it a few years after it was released, as a 9 or 10 year old girl so I was probably what the film had in mind for a target audience. I haven’t watched The Parent Trap for years, but I do remember watching it multiple times as a kid. Now, as a 20-year-old, a bit past this “target audience’ age, what would I think of The Parent Trap?
The Parent Trap follows a pair of 11-year-old identical twins, Hayley and Annie, (Lindsay Lohan in dual roles) who were separated at birth after their parents’ divorce. They have no idea of each others’ existence until they meet in summer camp and realize they’re twin sisters! They decide to secretly switch places till the end of summer – Annie would meet her wedding designer mother Elizabeth (the sadly late Natasha Richardson) in London, Hayley would get to hang out with her wine-grower dad Nick (Dennis Quaid) in Nappa Valley. The girls’ identities are eventually discovered, and soon, they begin on phase two of their plan to get their parents back together…
The Parent Trap is based on the 1961 remake of the same name. I’ve seen the original version starring Hayley Mills, but I must admit, this is probably one of the few cases where the remake is better than the original (don’t kill me, original fans!). The 1998 version is faster paced, and there’s pop cultural references littered throughout that a 90s kid would absolutely adore. The “evil” gold-digger Meredith (Elaine Hendrix) in the remake is a lot more fun to hate. There’s also an additional love story between Nick’s housekeeper (Lisa Ann Walter) and Elizabeth’s butler (Simon Kunz) which kinda draws from a Shakespearean low comedy of sorts and it’s superbly entertaining.
Upon rewatching it, I found myself immediately drawn to Lohan. As a kid, I really liked Lohan here and I’m glad to say I still do! She’s absolutely adorable, and you really feel for Hayley or Annie’s difficulties in their switched places. Plus, even though Hayley and Annie are absolutely identical in their physical appearances, you could still tell they were completely different characters – major props to Lohan! Also, this was probably the first time I saw trick photography at work back in the 1990s. I mean, it’s not exactly seen a technical achievement for the 21st century, YouTube stars do it very easily now, but back then – it was like WHOA MAGIC. And watching it today, it’s still pretty impressive that Lohan’s big screen debut performance involved acting alongside another version of herself. Which means she was talking to a body double the whole time (or possibly, nobody), which is quite a feat!
The romance between Quaid and Richardson is perhaps meant more for adult audiences, or more specifically, to target the reluctant parents watching the family film. Honestly, their love story is really quite charming. Quaid is such a heartthrob (seriously) and Richardson is enchanting as well and they have such excellent chemistry together. I used to dream about having them as parents; in my eyes, they were very cool. And I still do think that way! Please adopt me, fictional couple!
I’m very pleased to say that after 14 years (wow), The Parent Trap has surprisingly stood the test of time. It’s a fun, feel-good family film, and it’s a movie that I would definitely want to watch again.