The movie that I chose to review was titled “Freaky Friday.” It stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan as a mother and daughter who switch bodies for a day. In this film, Tess Coleman (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) is a widowed psychiatrist juggling her job and family while planning her second marriage. Anna Coleman (played by Lindsay Lohan), who disapproves of her mother’s second marriage plans, is of no help to her mother at all during her stressful situations. Anna is a rebellious rocker who plays guitar in a garage band and would rather flirt with older boys than listen to her uptight mother.
One night, while the warring mother and daughter are at a Chinese restaurant, their fighting is overheard by an elderly Chinese grandmother who curses a fortune cookie, so that the angry mother and daughter will wake up the next morning in each other’s bodies. Due to accepting and ingesting the fortune cookie, both Tess and Anna are there by forced to live in each other’s bodies for the day, in which it just so happens to be the day of Tess’s rehearsal dinner and Anna’s band audition at the House Of Blues. Of course, once Tess and Anna change places, they discover that the opposite person really does not have an easier life. For instance, Anna must listen to a litany of patient woes and panic at appointments while in the body of her mother and Tess gets bullied at school and must take a school placement exam while in the body of her teenage daughter.
This Disney movie shows many relationships to gender roles, family, and aggressiveness/anger. The notion of gender roles in the film is shown by the many tasks that Tess, the mother and head of the household, takes on. Tess is a very busy woman. She is always on the go for her job and carries a mess of handheld devices (including cell phones, pagers, PDIs, etc.) so that she can be reached very easily when she is not working. Tess is also the head of the household and is in charge of making sure that the basic physiological needs of her two children are met.
The family relationships in the movie that are obvious to the viewer include the bonding between mother and daughter and the idea of a single parent household. Through watching the movie, one can see that the bonding between Tess and Anna has changed from the beginning to the end. In the beginning of the movie, Anna and Tess are constantly arguing and not getting along. Anna does not like her mother bossing her around and definitely does not like the idea of her mother getting remarried. Tess, on the other hand, is very stressed out by her job and the planning of her second marriage, so she takes out all of her anger and stress on her daughter. This anger between the mother and daughter in the movie leads one to believe that there has been little interaction between the two early in life, which is probably due to the divorce and Tess’s constant working. According to Greenspan, high divorce rates and parents taking on more than one job results in children having continuous access to fewer and fewer adults. This idea of very little interaction between mother and daughter, according to Greenspan, could also have occurred due to the children being placed in daycare at an early age.
By watching the movie, a teenager may take on several different messages. One message that may be communicated to a teenager is the idea that everybody has a difficult life and there is no such thing as an easy and perfect life. This message was illustrated in the movie by Tess and Anna switching their bodies. Anna always thought that her mother did not have a life as difficult as she did and Tess always thought that her daughter had an easier life than her, however the two found out the hard way that there is no such thing as an easier life. Another message that may be communicated to a teenager through the movie is the notion of family interaction and bonding. This movie shows that in order for a family to be fully functional, there needs to be a strong bond between all of the members. This strong bond will then lead to a successful family with little or no arguments and confrontations.