The Parent Trap

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Parent Trap Movie Poster Image
Delightful remake is great for the whole family.
  • PG
  • 1999
  • 127 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 19 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 61 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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.

Language
Consumerism

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.

What 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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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... Continue reading
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 !
Teen, 13 years old Written byadjaja May 17, 2009

BRIEF

One time Haley says, "marriage isn't all about sex".

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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