Freaky Friday

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Freaky Friday Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Mother-daughter switch is fun comedic chaos.
  • PG
  • 2003
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 26 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 55 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Intended to entertain rather than educate, but kids will get lessons about empathy and communication.

Positive Messages

This film is a humorous lesson in seeing the world through another person's eyes. In this instance, a mom and daughter, at odds over values, behavior, and hopes, learn to more fully understand each other and get a solid look at the joys and difficulties each of them faces every day. In one exaggerated comic moment, a young girl says she's going to kill herself -- it's not meant to be taken seriously.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Parents are portrayed as conscientious, loving, and having the best interests of their children at heart. Kids are mostly well-meaning as they struggle with the stresses of school and relationships. Rebelliousness is portrayed as an effort to assert individuality. The one teacher in the cast is rigid, unfair, and vengeful. Characters learn and demonstrate self-control, gratitude, and empathy.

Violence & Scariness

Earthquakes occur when identities are swapped and unswapped. No injuries. A woman tackles someone to stop him from revealing a secret.

Sexy Stuff

Some sweet kisses, a few lingering ones. Because a teen takes over her mother’s body, and her mother takes over her body, there are a few awkward moments when each is confronted with kissing the object of the other's affection. The mom rides on a motorcycle driven by her teen daughter’s crush -- she hugs tight as they speed along.

Language

A few coarse words and insults: "harlot," "screwed,"" "fart," "insane psycho freak," "hell," and some instances of "Oh my God!"

Consumerism

Bernini, Ducati motorcycles, House of Blues, Volvo, Tamburo drums.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Champagne and wine are consumed iin rehearsal dinner and wedding scenes. No drunkenness.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Freaky Friday is a switched-identities comedy that will appeal to older kids, tweens, and teens alike. It's a good movie for families to watch together, as it will spark shared laughter and possible lively conversation about parent-child relationships. There is some very mild sexual innuendo as filmmakers skillfully handle the awkward moments when the teen girl in her mom’s body and the mom in her teen's body are confronted with potentially romantic moments with the two male love interests. Occasional swearing is used to help define the characters as they adapt to their new and unfamiliar roles ("Oh, my God!" "We’re screwed," "harlot," "hell," "fart," "it sucks"). Two earthquakes shake things up a bit, but no one is hurt.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byWilliam W. April 15, 2018

Not what I expected

I loved the 1977 version as a kid and and based on the reviews here I watched this with my 8 year old....its Disney right? Well from the start there were lots... Continue reading
Parent of a 6 and 7-year-old Written byDale Dietrich March 23, 2020

Holds Up Quite Well

My 6 and almost 8 year olds quite enjoyed this movie. We went back to watch the Jodie Foster version after and it was almost unwatchable. If you are choosing be... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMissE1000 April 19, 2011

LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!

Awesome movie, relevant for a lot of moms and daughters. There is one reference that is failed to be pointed out where Anna, who was in her mom's body at... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byemorris2008 May 16, 2020

this is a good movie but not what I expected.

Great story and very entertaining, but I think there is WAY too much kissing. The language isn't great and the outfits aren't great either. This was a... Continue reading

What's the story?

In FREAKY FRIDAY, based on the book by Mary Rodgers, Jamie Lee Curtis plays Tess, a compassionate therapist and a loving, if harried mother of two children. Her husband died three years ago, and she's about to be married to the devoted, understanding Ryan (Mark Harmon). Her daughter Anna (Lindsay Lohan), like most 15-year-olds, thinks that she has both too much of her mother's attention (when it comes to telling her what to do) and not enough (when it comes to knowing what's important to her, which she thinks Tess should just be able to intuit, since Anna doesn't really want to tell her anything). When the two of them get into an argument at a Chinese restaurant, the owner's mother gives them magic fortune cookies. The next morning, they wake up as each other. While they figure out how to return to their own bodies, each has to spend the day living the other's life.

Is it any good?

Curtis and Lohan are so clearly enjoying themselves that they're fun to watch, and the story moves along so briskly that its logical flaws barely get in the way. Freaky Friday is a great way to start discussions between parents and teens about how they can better understand one another.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fairly common motif of switched identities in Freaky Friday. Have you seen the original 1976 version starring Jody Foster as a kid?

  • Why it is hard for Tess and Anna to understand each other at the beginning of the movie? If the parents and children in your family switched places, what would be the biggest surprises? 

  • What do you think of how Anna resolves her problems with her English teacher and the honors exam? 

  • How do Tess and Anna demonstrate self-control, gratitude, and empathy in Freaky Friday? Why are those important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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