Freaky Friday (1976)

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
Freaky Friday (1976) Movie Poster Image
Endearing '76 original may feel outdated to kids.
  • G
  • 1976
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Annabel drives a car as a 13-year-old. She's also ostracized by her friends for being smart in class. But the overall message is understanding and family love. Annabel is mean to her older brother until she spends time with him in her mom's body.

Violence & Scariness

Some comic car chases and car crashes, but no one gets hurt. Annabel drives on the sidewalk and scares pedestrians off a footbridge. Rival field hockey team members attack Annabel, hitting her with their sticks and tripping her.

Sexy Stuff

Annabel has a crush on her neighbor, Boris and, as her mom, invites him over for the afternoon.

Language
Consumerism

Ben eats Ritz crackers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mrs. Schmauss is an alcoholic. She doesn't drink on-screen, but characters allude to her drinking on the job and she goes to buy alcohol in the middle of the day.

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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 7-year-old Written byDale Dietrich March 23, 2020

Wow this one DOES NOT Hold up!

I don't know how the editors here gave this a 4 out of 5 star review. While it is definitely family friendly, more importantly its family boring and family... Continue reading
Parent of a 10, 12, and 15-year-old Written byHendo H. U December 28, 2017
Teen, 13 years old Written byzaptie August 18, 2020

too freaky for children

the scary part is when their all naked even the kids they all go freaky

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?

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