The Parent Trap Movie Poster Image

The Parent Trap

Delightful remake is great for the whole family.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 127 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will get an introductory look at some differences between two cultures: American and English. Additionally, there are visuals of a number of London's most beautiful and relevant landmarks.

Positive messages

The movie's positive messages include that true love conquers all and that good intentions trump questionable behavior. That said, dishonesty doesn't have many negative consequences in this film. The girls reach their goal by lying and manipulating ... as well as being adorable.

Positive role models

Despite the fact that they're terribly dishonest and have made the unrealistic choice of splitting up, living on separate continents, and each raising a twin daughter, both parents are caring, responsible, and devoted. Other caregivers -- a nanny, a butler, and a grandfather -- are nurturing, unselfish, and loving. The twins are bright, resourceful, loving, independent, and capable of great (but ultimately harmless) mischief.

Violence & scariness

A girl screams as her twin sister pierces her ears with a needle. In one comic sequence, a woman falls into a lake, then reacts to a small lizard on her head and in her mouth. A few scenes with somewhat mean-spirited teasing among young campers.

Sexy stuff

Some warm kisses and embraces between adults. After losing a bet at camp, a girl has to jump into a lake, naked, at night. The sequence is shot from a distance, and there's no actual nudity on screen.

Not applicable

Oreos, Skippy Peanut Butter, Harrod's Department Store, British Airways, Prada, Evian. Some of these products are mentioned in conversation as well as visually prominent.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One of the main characters owns a vineyard; many scenes include drinking wine -- at meals and to mark a special event. At one dinner, an 11-year-old girl is given a small sip of wine and is asked for her opinion of its quality. The girls' mother, anxious about an upcoming event, drinks too much and gets tipsy while preparing for an uncomfortable meeting.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that even though it's funny and has a warm heart and happy ending, this Disney remake is about divorce and reconciliation and could require some explanation and reassurance. It's a complicated, unlikely story spun as a fanciful tale: The parents have lied to their kids, neither twin is aware of the other’s existence, and each has been kept from one parent for eleven years. Deceit plays an important part in the movie's plot (albeit all in the name of family togetherness). Wine is consumed in several scenes, and the twins’ mother gets slightly drunk before she faces her ex-husband. An ear-piercing scene results in an “ewww” moment, and a poker game results in a girl’s embarrassing naked dive into a lake (a very wide shot).

What's the story?

This remake of 1961's THE PARENT TRAP stars Lindsay Lohan as both Hallie and Annie, twin girls separated at birth who meet up at summer camp and decide to switch places. Their father, Nick (Dennis Quaid), owns a vineyard, and their mother, Elizabeth (Natasha Richardson), designs wedding gowns. Meredith (Elaine Hendrix), their dad's scheming girlfriend, hopes to marry Nick for his money -- so Hallie and Annie set out to get their parents back together, and while they're at it, make life miserable for Meredith.

Is it any good?


This is a delightful remake of the Hayley Mills classic. Lohan is utterly adorable and does a masterful job of creating two separate characters, each of whom spends a large part of the movie impersonating the other. But divorced parents should make sure that their children have no illusions of a reconciliation, and all parents should make sure that while it may be charming for the children in the movie to manipulate their parents, it isn't appropriate for real life.

Kids who enjoy this version will get a kick out of comparing it to the original. Make sure that they notice Joanna Barnes, who plays Vicki (the fiancee) in the original, playing Vicki (the fiancee's mother) in the remake.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about divorce. How does this movie portray divorce? Is it realistic? Parents may want to reassure kids if they're distressed by the fact that the parents split up the twins and made no attempt to see the child they gave up.

  • How does this movie compare to the original? Why are some remakes good, while others pale in comparison to the original?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1999
DVD/Streaming release date:June 1, 2004
Cast:Dennis Quaid, Lindsay Lohan, Natasha Richardson
Director:Nancy Meyers
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Book characters
Run time:127 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild mischief

This review of The Parent Trap was written by

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Parent of a 1, 4, and 6 year old Written bythumai November 10, 2008

Great family movie for kids 5+... except for a few scenes

My 4 and 6 yr old girls (esp the older one) loved this show. My younger one enjoyed the show but still doesn't have the attention-span to watch a show this long. They loved the funny summer camp scenes and the dual/switching roles of Hallie/Annie. Somewhat inappropriate scenes for this age group were the scene of Martin in his speedo and the lookover he gets; the scene of Annie talking to Meredith about just being with her Dad because of money/sex; Mom being drunk getting off the plane. Being a stepmom myself (to a visting step-d), my kids didn't understand why stepmoms are always portrayed as mean and not nice to stepchildren (similar to many princesss Disney shows as well).
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008
There was nothing wrong with this movie. It's a sequal as good as, if not better than, the original!!
Teen, 16 years old Written byalhaderusydi March 20, 2011
love it ! that's really very good !
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models