I was able to catch 1998’s “The Parent Trap” on a re-run on television the other day. What surprised me the most is that the film has stood the test of time, despite premiering more then a decade ago. That magical, mystical days of yore – a time when Lindsay Lohan liked “Leonardo DiCaprio”, ores + peanut butter, and speaking in a cute British accent, rather then her new favourite pass time of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. The film is undoubtedly well put together, and remains to stay as one of the greatest family films ever made. But what caused such a realization for me? Yes, bias cause I grew up with the film. But it’s more then nostalgia that makes the movie great for me. It’s also gorgeous to look at, endearing, well-acted and the script is divine.
If you haven’t already seen Disney’s remake (the original version was made in 1961 and for me – though other film pundits may not agree – this is far more superior), we follow two identical twins Hallie and Annie, separated at birth because of divorced parents. When the two unexpectedly meet in the same camp one summer, the two devise a plan and switch places. Hallie goes to London to meet her mother Elizabeth James (Natasha Richardson) and Annie to Napa Valley California to get a glimpse of her father Nick Parker (Dennis Quaid). Pretending to be each other, the girls try to find a way to get their parents back together, but is ultimately threatened when a sexy, young publicist named Meredith Blake (Elaine Hendrix) enters the picture and tries to steal Nick’s heart…and bank account…away.
One thing that enforces my argument that it is one of the best family films is that it’s so classy. Not just classily done (director Nancy Meyer’s understanding of Upper Class comedy has always has such a positive effect of me and never failed to make me smile) but tastefully executed in terms of beautiful production design and costuming. Picture above is the late Natasha Richardson (who, by the way gives quite an endearing performance as Linday and Lindays mother) with little cute redhead Lohan on the streets of London. From the Camp Site to London to that beautiful vineyard in California, the whole film has a romantic feel of elegance and grace to it. This adds to it’s timeless effect. It hardly looks dated, and can still be watched in 2013 without cringing at the ugly 90s fashion.
After everything that’s happened to her in the past few years, Lohan remains to have such an impressive filmography (pre-“Mean Girls”, 2004) for an actress who is so young and talented. It takes effort to understand and play twins, and Lohan is really on the dot with it. Stepping up to the challenge of playing both an American twin and a British twin, is really quite commendable. Lohan’s career best happened so early in her life. Her charm is irresistible in “The Parent Trap” that she carries the entire film on her shoulder. The love story that takes place (thanks to the two Lindsay’s plotting together) never reaches ultimate cheesiness (fine, maybe a little bit). Though it is blown out of proportion a little bit, *SPOILER* adults wouldn’t jump into really quick conclusions about how the rest of their life will end up on the spot, ultimately you feel good after seeing Nick and Lizzie get back together.
To tell you the truth, I wanted to write this post cause I like the movie. It’s good at its entertainment value and no one can complain that its a bad film. Because it’s not. The thing with “The Parent Trap” is, it stands the test of time. When you’re a kid, you remember seeing a movie a certain way. After years of not watching that certain film, you get a chance to see it when you’re old, and you realize how incredibly lousy the film was after all. That’s not the case of “The Parent Trap”. Seeing it today is like watching a fresh film all over a again. And trust me, we need movie going experiences like this to cheer us up on bad days.