Freaky Friday (2018)

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Freaky Friday (2018) Movie Poster Image
Musical reboot's heartwarming themes are great for families.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Positive representations of family relationships that benefit from honesty and compassion.

Positive Messages

Takes a lighthearted look at value of seeing the world through someone else's eyes. Ellie and her mom argue a lot, make accusations that are unkind, but as the story evolves, they come to see each other's strengths, struggles in a new light. The family also works through emotions surrounding a family member's death. Katherine's engagement means creation of a new blended family. Strong themes about self-expression, being true to yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Katherine works hard to be a good mom, but her desire to do so often interferes with her relationship with Ellie, who's disrespectful in return. Both characters show willingness to change with new perspective; their relationship benefits. Mike's patient, gentle nature helps hold family together. Savannah is manipulative, controlling, gets her way by wielding her popularity as a threat.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

A sweet romance blossoms between teens. Catherine and her fiancé show affection with hugs and hand-holding.



Ellie calls her brother a nerd and says "I hate you" to her mom in the heat of an argument.


Remakes the story told in previous movies and a book.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Freaky Friday is a family-friendly musical-style reimagining of the story about a mother and daughter who switch bodies after some accidental magic. Song-and-dance numbers are delightful additions to the plot (showcasing the cast's talents), and the story carefully explores serious emotions like grief after a loved one's death. Both teenage Ellie (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) and her mom (Heidi Blickenstaff) have some awkward moments related to each other's romantic lives, but they're handled more with humor than suggestion. A teen manipulates peers and adults to maintain her social dominance, but ultimately this delightful, energetic movie has exceptional messages about communication, honesty, and respect for others.


User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6, 9, and 12-year-old Written byBelinda N. August 20, 2018

It’s an okay third reboot

This movie is a reboot of a reboot of a reboot of a movie. Yes, they have three reboots of the late 70s film now. That’s interesting. As for the movie, it’s abo... Continue reading
Parent of a 8, 14, and 17-year-old Written byFernando V. August 15, 2018

Freaky Friday (2018) Review

Disney Channel has brought us a remake/reboot before in the past with Adventures in Babysitting, a film I actually enjoy alongside with my children. This is the... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bygamergrl13 August 20, 2018

Eh it was fine

The trailers didn't look good and they certainly didn't mention that this was a musical. I don't hate musicals, but whenever I hear that a movie... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 31, 2018

What's the story?

FREAKY FRIDAY is a Disney musical that retells the story of a rebellious teen and her mom who unwittingly trade bodies and lives. Heidi Blickenstaff stars as Katherine Blake, a single mom busy preparing to marry her fiancé, Mike (Alex Desert), and (fingers crossed!) get the break her catering business needs by planning the entire event herself. She knows things would go a lot more smoothly if her daughter, Ellie (Cozi Zuehlsdorff), wasn't so contrary all the time, but Ellie's sure the fault lies with her mom, who just doesn't understand what it's like to be her. When mom and daughter find themselves in the wrong bodies, they must set aside their preconceptions and actually walk a mile in each other's shoes as they search for a way to reverse the magic.

Is it any good?

This remake's shtick is the breakout musical numbers that give the familiar story a dynamic quality that you didn't even realize you wanted. All of the requisite hilarity of identity-swapping tales is here: Teen is shocked at her mom body's "loose skin" and laments adulting being "super unfun," Mom fails miserably at high school lingo and body language and can't resist giving sage advice to her daughter's social nemesis, and so on. Awkwardness abounds as Ellie and Katherine, played endearingly by the capable actresses, try desperately to maintain the status quo in each other's lives.

Besides the obvious message about not judging a book (or your mother) by its cover, Freaky Friday emphasizes self-expression and honest communication. It wouldn't have been as much fun for the audience, but Katherine and Ellie could have arrived at the same understanding about each other if they'd just called a truce and talked openly about their feelings at the start. In the end, it's that simple act that sets things right, and that's what families can take away from this movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Ellie and Katherine's relationship changes in Freaky Friday as a result of their experience in each other's bodies. How instructive would that be? Can you ever really understand someone else's situation? How does showing respect compensate for our inability to do so?

  • What character strengths like compassion do you see in Katherine and in Ellie? How does their relationship change after they learn to better understand each other? What stood in the way of that relationship before they switched identities?

  • What does the music add to this story? Have you seen the other Freaky Friday movies? In what ways does this one improve on the others? Are there ways in which it's lacking?

Movie details

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