A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Annabel and her mom share mutual animosity at the beginning of the film, but grow to respect each other as they live a day in the other's life. There's some comic car chases and car crashes, but nothing scary or dangerous.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
There's been a lot written lately about the supergirl dilemma -- that is, girls feel like they have to be all things to all people at all times. Not surprisingly, supergirls grow up to be super women -- and both are exhausted. In the original FREAKY FRIDAY, a super girl and a super mom switch bodies for one important day to see if things really are better on the other side. Annabel Andrews (played by a delightfully young and awkward Jodi Foster) is 13, a daddy's girl juggling field hockey finals, term papers, a crush on her neighbor, and her developing body, all while trying to stay out of her demanding mom's way. When both decide they'd rather have the sweet life the other enjoys, something funny happens: their wish is granted, to comical effect. Suddenly the water-phobic mom (played wonderfully by Barbara Harris) has to water ski. The organizationally challenged Annabel has to handle the curtain-hangers, the carpet cleaners, her dad's ironing, an alcoholic house cleaner, and her dad's growing demands.
Is it any good?
We all know what happens, and the movie's heartwarming message still resonates. However, that may be all that appeals to the modern tween and teen. Especially those who've seen the Lindsay Lohan version that boasts the star power and more special effects. Kids may be bored by the constant inner monologues and the old-fashioned tasks on Annabel's to-do list.
Still, the film is important not just because of the message, but also because it shows how much the image of the teen girl has changed over the past three decades. Foster plays a regular teen, jersey t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers included. But compared to the sexed-up image of Lohan in the recent remake, she looks positively childish. Best to aim this story at younger kids, who will appreciate it more and adore the old-school cartoon introduction.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how different this film adaptation of Mary Rodgers' book is from the 2003 remake starring Lindsay Lohan. How different are the two Annabels, both in terms of dress and what people expect of them? Do you think girls today are under more pressure to be sexy and grown up than they were in the 1970s?
- In theaters: March 13, 1976
- On DVD or streaming: June 1, 2004
- Cast: Barbara Harris, Jodie Foster, John Astin
- Director: Gary Nelson
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, High School
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: general audiences
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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